Category Archives: Venezuela

Venezuelan Gold Business

(Orlando Wilson) After the United States and the Venezuelan oppositions failed coup attempt on the Government of Nicolas Maduro on April 30th, 2019, life went back to normal in the chaos of Venezuela. Not only has life gone back to normal, but for many in the world of organized crime and trafficking, things are booming. The Narcos and the traffickers also know that as long as they pay their dues and cooperate with the Maduro Government, they are untouchable by law enforcement be it from the United States or Western Europe.

The trafficking routes established between the coastal towns – and organized crime hubs – of Guiria and Macuro in Sucre State, Venezuela and the coastal towns of Chaguaramas and Woodbrook in Trinidad & Tobago is a blatant example of how unconcealed the trafficking is. Venezuela and Trinidad & Tobago are on 6.8 miles apart at their closest point!

The kidnapping of women aged between 14 years to 25 years is on the rise all over Venezuela, and in Trinidad & Tobago they pay up to 1.000 USD$ per woman. The human trafficking business in Venezuela is controlled by the Bolivarian Intelligence and Bolivarian National Guard. They have found that controlling human trafficking is an easy and profitable way of making money.

The Venezuelan drug trafficking business is booming between the coastal towns in Sucre State and Trinidad & Tobago. Venezuelan Coast Guard, Bolivarian National Guard, Bolivarian Intelligence and Military Intelligence are all profiting as are members of the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard and political figures.

It’s understood the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard is not well equipped, it lacks manpower but is corrupt. They intercept boats with illegal immigrants coming from Venezuela but do not touch or chase the ones carrying drugs and women that will be working or sold as prostitutes.

The Venezuelan Narco traffickers are also opening up routes farther south with the city of Nieuw Nickerie in Suriname becoming a hub for traffickers from Sucre State and Delta Amacuro state.

Gold Trafficking

Venezuela’s third-largest export is gold, and the country’s gold production is controlled by the military. Reuters reported that officially 20 tons of national reserve gold and 23 tons of mined gold were taken to Istanbul, Turkey in 2018. In November 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to “ban U.S. persons from dealing with entities and individuals involved with ‘corrupt or deceptive’ gold sales from Venezuela.”

Since the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela and due to the dilapidated state of the oil industry, the Venezuelan government, with the help of organized crime groups, have found the gold business a nice and quick way of making money.

Gold miners killed by rivals in Bolívar state… SEBIN Commandos were the first on the scene after the killings…

Click to view slideshow.

In 2016 the Venezuelan government foreseeing economic and political problems in the future created the Arco Minero del Orinoco that covers the states of BolívarAmazonas and Delta Amacuro. The area covered by the Arco Minero del Orinoco is rich in mineral resources; experts estimate 7,000 tons of gold, copper, diamonds, uranium, coltan, iron, bauxite and other mineral reserves. Environmental and human rights groups immediately raised concerns about the potential destruction and pollution of the environment and the exploitation of those who would be working in and supporting the mining operations.

At the moment the main areas of activity are El CallaoTumeremo and Las Cristinas in Bolívar State and the main commodity is gold. The area covered by Arco Minero del Orinoco can be classed as one of the most lawless, dangerous and corrupt places on earth. Nothing that happens there is clean, life is cheap, the money is dirty, and business is booming.

The Venezuelan soldier in the below photos was caught stealing gold by the criminal gang “Pranes’. The took out his eyes and chopped his hands off.

Click to view slideshow.

The main players overseeing the Venezuelan gold business are the usual suspects… President Nicolas Maduro, his son Nicolás Maduro Guerra and his wife Cilia Flores. Two of Cilia Flores’ nephews were arrested in Haiti in 2015 by the U.S. DEA, on drug trafficking charges and sentenced to 18 years in U.S. prison. There is Tareck El Aissami who is wanted by the US authorities, a serving Venezuelan politician, the Minister of Industries and National Production, and also reportedly a Hezbollah liaison. And then, of course, there is the GNB (Bolivarian National Guard)FANB (Bolivarian army and Bolivarian navy) and SEBIN (National Intelligence Service).

Other players and foot soldiers in the Venezuelan gold business include:

  • Colombian guerrillas: They operate will the full support from the Venezuelan regime; it’s believed that there are more than 2.000 well-armed and well-equipped guerrilla members performing security activities and gold extraction in Bolívar state. The direct order (coming from President Maduro) to the Bolivarian Armed Forces, is to support and help them in everything, weapons, ammunition, uniforms, vehicles and even transporting them on helicopters that belong to the Air Force or Army. Every single military base in Bolívar state has the order to assist and shelter guerrilla group members.
  • Venezuelan gang members: Gang members form such groups as Pranes are into almost every dirty way of making money; extortion, killing, kidnapping, drug trafficking, human trafficking, etc. And now they are into the gold business with the blessing from high-up officials from the Venezuelan regime. They’re responsible for at least 1.000 murders just in Bolívar state. Since last year, the Colombian guerrillas have been taking over their territory, which is turning the situation into a medium scale war.
  • Local gold mafia: The gold business in Bolívar state is old and established. Most of the businessmen from Bolívar state trade in gold, they’re well-armed, but they prefer to stay low profile. You can see them and their people at their gold shops in almost every single town and Puerto Ordaz city.
  • Syrian nationals: Recently, many people from Syria have been moving to Venezuela and establishing themselves in Bolívar state and the gold business; they come will full support from Tareck El Aissami.
  • Hezbollah: Hezbollah is performing activities related to gold extraction and trafficking. The terrorist group has a large international network and is making a lot of money in Venezuela; the gold ends up in Turkey, UAE, and even Syria.

Syrian gold dealers in Bolívar state, Venezuela

Mixed in with these groups are the Chinese, Turks, and Russians who are operating in the Venezuelan gold business and trying to stay clean and out of the turf wars. The Venezuelan gold is being trafficked regionally by air or river into Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname where it can be mixed in and marked as locally produced and then moved internationally to Turkey, Tanzania, and UAE, etc. Russians are also a common sight in certain Caracas neighborhoods.

Most of Bolívar and the neighboring States are covered in jungle, and thick forest and the only way of getting into many towns is by air. The bush pilots in the area the best-paid pilots in Venezuela, all they do is fly logistics, food, weapons, gold, prostitutes, medicines and anything else needed.

Venezuelan gold business brings with it chaos, crime, kidnapping, murder, well-armed gang members and guerrillas but it’s booming because of the vast amount of money that is being made by those involved. The profits from the Venezuelan gold business go to sustain the affluent lifestyles of those in the upper echelons but also to corrupt officials and influential people in the region and internationally that can help facilitate criminal industry which these days is Venezuela’s main export.

Source: by Orlando Wilson | Truth Only Has A Few Friends

Lindsey Graham Asks Trump To Invade Venezuela: ‘Do It Like Reagan Did’ In Grenada

Likely frustrated over the fact that the crisis in Venezuela has by and large retreated from the headlines over the past weeks following the failed US-backed coup attempt against Maduro at the end of April, Sen. Lindsey Graham went on one of his characteristic jingoistic rants during a Fox News Sunday appearance.

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Historical file photo of Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada invasion, 1983

The well-known hawk from South Carolina directly appealed to Trump to initiate a US invasion akin to the one executed by Ronald Reagan in Grenada back in 1983.

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Simon Bolivar Bridge On The Colombian-Venezuelan Border: People fleeing the economic crises, desperate to find food & medication

The UN population disruption and replacement program rages on. Incredible video clip…

Venezuela’s Maduro Admits Socialist Model Has Failed

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro admitted that his socialist economic model has “failed” amid food and medicine shortages as well as a failing infrastructure highlighted by Tuesday’s power failure to 80% of Caracas.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/maduro%20pointing.jpg?itok=HtzNiVHdThe goal of Socialism is Communism

Compounding matters is the IMF’s Weimar-topping hyperinflation forecast of 1,000,000% by year end, and a GDP set to plummet 18% this year, as the government continues to simply print money to in hopes of filling the void of what was once the country’s economy.

“The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours,” Maduro told his ruling PSUV party congress. “Enough with the whining… we need to produce with or without (outside) aggression, with or without blockades, we need to make Venezuela an economic power.

“No more whining, I want solutions comrades!”

No word on whether he took a bite of an empanada during his speech while his country starves on the “Maduro diet” – a phrase coined after Venezuela’s notorious food shortages gave rise to mass starvation across the country. Not even the donkeys are safe. 

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Meanwhile:

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Venezuela’s socialist government has nationalized a wide swath of industries across the country over the past several years, such as steel and cement plants, food processing, distribution and more. In order to try and control inflation, the country has fixed prices on various goods while imposing tight regulations surrounding foreign exchange. 

I estimate it will take about two years to reach a high level of stability and see the first symptoms of new and economic prosperity, without for one second affecting social security and protection,” added the president.

Maduro plans to increase oil production to “six million barrels a day by 2025 or before,” amid a crash in output from a high of 3.2 million barrels a day in 2008 to just 1.5 million this year, a 30-year low. Venezuela’s crude oil sales comprise approximately 96% of the country’s revenue. 

The economic crisis has hit so hard that the public transport system has almost ground to a halt, with the government and local councils offering free rides in unsafe and uncomfortable pick-up trucks — branded “kennels” by users — after many bus service providers couldn’t afford to keep their vehicles on the road.

Maduro, who blames Venezuela’s woes on an “economic war” waged by the United States, called on PSUV supporters to help kick-start production and resist US “aggression.” –France24

Washington, meanwhile, has imposed financial sanctions against Maduro’s government, along with state-owned oil company PDVSA.  

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s industrial sector is operating at just 30% capacity, as illustrated by the farming sector, which now provides just a quarter of national consumption, after providing 75% just a few years ago according to the National Farmers Federation. 

This should all make for some interesting debate questions during the next US elections, as Democratic Socialists have become the “new face” of the left. Just don’t ask any questions about economics or logistics…

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Source: ZeroHedge

We Loot Or We Die Of Hunger In Venezuela

As the country’s economic problems mount, towns and cities have been hit by an outbreak of looting and violence.

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Venezuelan Soldier Kills Pregnant Woman Waiting For Her Christmas Food Ration

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Venezuelans have been experiencing high inflation, mass shortages of food and other goods at the hands of government for years, with no end in sight.

A Venezuelan soldier who shot dead a pregnant woman on Christmas Eve has been arrested.

Alexandra Conopoi, 18, was killed as she waited for subsidized pork that the government had promised to millions for a traditional Christmas dinner.

It happened as protests broke out when people realized there would not be enough meat for everyone in line.

President Nicolás Maduro accused foreign countries of blocking food exports in order to create discontent, despite the fact the Venezuela Government is chronically behind on paying for imported food.

The soldier has been identified as David José Rebolledo Cortez.

Source: BBC News

Petrodollar Demise Is Reshaping The Geopolitical World


In the early 1970s President Richard Nixon instigated two changes that had profound effects. The first of these was taking United States off the gold standard; i.e. henceforth US dollars would no longer be convertible to Gold. Ordinarily this might have been expected to have significant ramifications for the value of the US dollar.

Deleterious effects however, were avoided by another equally profound change. Nixon’s National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger negotiated an agreement with Saudi Arabia that henceforth all oil (initially from Saudi Arabia but rapidly extended to all OPEC countries) would be traded only in US dollars, the birth of the so called petrodollar.

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It was a classic mafia style arrangement. In exchange for Saudi Arabia’s agreement to the sole use of the dollar for oil transactions, the US underwrote Saudi Arabia’s security thereby ensuring the continuity of one of the world’s most corrupt and repressive regimes.

Also unknown at the time, the US and Saudi Arabia entered an arrangement whereby Islamist terrorist groups (as long as they were Sunni) would be financed by Saudi Arabia and armed by the Americans and then used in pursuit of US geopolitical goals. Operation Cyclone, begun under the Carter administration in the 1970s was an early forerunner of this tactic, but it has been refined and utilized in different formats in a wide number of countries ever since.

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The objective was always fundamentally the same: to undermine and if necessary replace governments that were insufficiently compliant with US geopolitical aims. As and when necessary, US troops and their “coalition” allies would be inserted into the target countries. The destruction of Afghanistan (2001 and continuing) Iraq (2003 and continuing) Libya (2011 and continuing) are only three of the better-known examples.

The huge financial cost of these military and geopolitical ventures did not impose a proper price upon the US because of the hegemonic role of the US dollar. The US, in effect, had their multiple wars of choice paid for by other countries as the dollar’s role in world trade created a constant demand for US Treasury bonds.

The role of the US dollar also permitted the US to impose sanctions on recalcitrant countries. The selective nature of the sanctions, always directed toward a US geopolitical or commercial advantage, were clearly an instrument of repressive power. Notwithstanding claims that they were to “punish” the alleged misconduct of the specified country, their actually use betrayed their geopolitical purpose.

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Sanctions against Russia for its” invasion” of Ukraine “annexation” of Crimea, and against Iran for its “nuclear program” are two of the better known illustrations of sanctions being justified on spurious grounds..

The use and abuse of the dollar’s power is clearly unacceptable, but the capacity to invoke countermeasures was until quite recently severely limited. The single most important countervailing force is the rise of China as the economic powerhouse of the world, and importantly, the creation of alternative structures in trade, finance and security, that translate China’s economic power into a force for major change.

That change is assisted by the number of collateral developments. In 1990, the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and UK) had a combined GDP approximately six times greater then the seven economically most important emerging nations (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and South Korea).

By 2013 the “emerging seven” had surpassed the G7’s GDP total and according to the IMF’s estimates for 2017, the GDP of the two groups will be $47 .5 trillion and $37.8 trillion for the emerging seven and the G7 respectively. Turkey, which is growing at 5% per annum, has replaced Mexico in the top emerging seven.

BRICS, which contains four of the emerging seven nations and the Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO), which includes China, India and Russia, are working together on the architecture of a monetary alternative to the dollar. The SCO alone contains 42% of the world’s population.

India’s role in BRICS and the SCO is one reason it is being assiduously cultivated by Australia, Japan and the United States in an attempt to set up a “quadrilateral four” to slow and undermine the role of China and Russia in creating an alternative to longstanding western domination and exploitation.

It was in this context that Russia’s President Putin at the recent BRICS meeting in Xiamen, China said that

“Russia shares the BRICS countries concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture, which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies.”

This speech developed a theme that Putin had developed in an article published prior to the BRICS meeting. Putin bluntly vowed to destroy the US led financial system, aiming to reform a system that gives excessive domination to a limited number of reserve (i.e. predominantly western) currencies.

China has developed a new Cross Border Interbank Payments System (CIPS) to replace the US dominated SWIFT system, itself used as a tool for financial bullying by the US. Russia has also taken steps to insulate itself from the ill effects of being excluded from SWIFT.

Other major changes are also occurring. Venezuela, with the world’s largest known oil reserves, has ceased accepting payment in US dollars. In the past US retaliation through regime change would have been immediate as happened to Libya’s Gaddafi (confirmed by Clinton’s leaked emails) and the Iraq’s Saddam Hussein who had announced that he would henceforth accept payment in euros and not dollars.

China and Qatar recently concluded a $50 billion deal denominated in Yuan. There were immediate threats and absurd demands from Saudi Arabia, undoubtedly acting as the voice of the US administration, but nothing more serious. The lack of military intervention or attempted regime change was probably attributable to Turkey’s military intervention, a series of agreements with Iran, and the probable implied threat of Chinese intervention should the Saudis further demonstrate their military incompetence (as in Yemen) by anything as rash as direct military moves against Qatar.

Saudi Arabia is rapidly reaching a crunch point in its relationship with China, a huge purchaser of Saudi Arabia’s oil. It is widely known that China wants future oil contracts denominated in Yuan. The attraction for Saudi Arabia is that the Chinese guarantee their Yuan with gold traded on the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges. Ironically, this puts China in the same position as the United States prior to Nixon’s withdrawal from the gold backed dollar.

The dilemma for the Saudis is that if they comply with the Chinese demands they risk losing the Americans underwriting their security. US instigated regime change in Saudi Arabia is a very real possibility and the recent maneuverings by Mohammad bin Salman to consolidate his power can be interpreted as a response to that possibility.

Typically, the western media focused on relative trivialities, such as women being able to drive motor vehicles from 2018 (in limited circumstances), rather than examining the underlying geopolitical power struggle.

The other major development worth mentioning in this context is the rapid increase in the number of countries doing deals with China using the Yuan or their own national currencies as the medium of exchange. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, currently involving 65 nations, will undoubtedly accelerate this trend. Russia and China are already each other’s critically important trading partners and all agreements between them are being denominated in either Yuan or Rubles.

It would be naïve to assume that this is all going to occur without a massive rear guard action by the Americans who know full well that their ability to defy economic logic is only possible because of the dollar’s unique role, allowing in turn military interventions to prop up their now rapidly declining power.

The United States’ aggressive and provocative actions in the South China Sea, North Korea, Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere our best interpreted as the flailing’s of a declining empire. The real question is will the United States accept the disappearance of the unique power that it has wielded since the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944 and adjust its policies accordingly, or destroy us all in their attempts to recapture a lost world.

By James Oneill | New Eastern Outlook

Why America Has A 2nd Amendment: Venezuela Plans To Give Firearms To Loyalists To Purge Growing Resistance

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After enduring shortages of food and medicine for years, as well as a total collapse of their currency, the people of Venezuela have had enough. Last week it was estimated that 2.5 million people marched against the Maduro regime, which had previously tried to strip away the powers of the opposition-led parliament. It’s estimated that as many as 6 million people may have taken to the streets to protest throughout the country.

In the lead-up to the protest, which had been planned for weeks by opposition political parties, President Maduro issued an alarming proclamation that didn’t receive nearly enough press. He promised to expand the nation’s armed militia, and hand out firearms to as many as 400,000 loyalists.

The Bolivarian militias, currently at approximately 100,000, were created by the late Hugo Chavez to assist the armed forces in the defense of his revolution from external and domestic attacks.

Speaking to thousands of militia members dressed in beige uniforms gathered in front of the presidential palace, Maduro said that vision remains relevant as Venezuela continues to face “imperialist aggression.”

“A gun for every militiaman!” he cried.

If you know your history of communist regimes, you understand what comes next. Maduro’s response to millions of hungry pissed off people, is to arm his die-hard supporters, who will be able to purge the starving masses that dared to cross him. They may not face much resistance, because in 2012 Venezuela banned private firearm ownership.

Venezuela has brought a new gun law into effect which bans the commercial sale of firearms and ammunition.

Until now, anyone with a gun permit could buy arms from a private company.

Under the new law, only the army, police and certain groups like security companies will be able to buy arms from the state-owned weapons manufacturer and importer.

The ban is the latest attempt by the government to improve security and cut crime ahead of elections in October

Venezuela saw more than 18,000 murders last year and the capital, Caracas, is thought to be one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America.

Do you see how that works? Maduro’s socialist policies turned that country into a crime-ridden hell hole, (and eventually turned their capital city into the most violent in the world). Instead of abandoning their centrally planned economy, which would bring prosperity to all and lower the crime rate, Maduro took away everyone’s guns. Now that his socialist policies are bringing Venezuela’s population to brink of starvation and revolution, he decides to arm his violent and dimwitted loyalists. He has set up the perfect conditions for a genocidal purge of everyone who opposes him.

I’d say that this would be a fine lesson for any would-be socialists in this country, but they don’t seem eager to learn. Neither did many Venezuelans, who elected these control freaks nearly two decades ago. They could have looked at any socialist experiment from the 20th century, and realized that it always leads to starvation and mass murder. Instead they let themselves be conned by what is now the oldest and most deadly political trick in the book.

Source: ZeroHedge

Venezuela Seizes General Motors Car Plant

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While the US has a habit of invading or attacking sovereign nations any time the president’s approval rating dips below a certain threshold, Venezuela has a similar, if less dramatic mechanism to provide a brief boost to Maduro’s popularity: it nationalizes foreign plants on its soil.

It did so last July, when the country was once again suffocating under a wave of violent protests, when just hours after Kimberly-Clark said it will shutter its Venezuela operations after years of grappling with soaring inflation and a shortage of hard currency and raw materials, Venezuela retaliated by announcing it would seize the factory.

It did so again overnight, when General Motors said on Wednesday that Venezuelan authorities had illegally seized its plant in the industrial hub of Valencia; as a result the car maker said it would immediately halt operations in Venezuela.

“Yesterday, GMV’s (General Motors Venezolana) plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations. In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities,” the company said in a statement.

The automaker said the seizure showed a “total disregard” of its legal rights. “[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights.”

GM’s subsidiary in the country – General Motors Venezolana – has operated in Venezuela for nearly 70 years. It employs nearly 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. GM said it would make “separation payments” to its workers.

While the US car maker vowed to defend its rights, it has no chance of success of recouping its property under the current regime, which no longer recognize either local or international law. The seizure comes amid a deepening economic crisis in leftist-led Venezuela that has already roiled many U.S. companies.

GM said the seizure would cause irreparable damage to the company, its 2,678 workers, its 79 dealers and to its suppliers.

The seizure will hardly be of use to the Maduro regime as Venezuela’s car industry has been in freefall, hit by a lack of raw materials due to lack of foreign currency to fund imports and stagnant local production, with many plants are barely producing at all. Last month, according to official statistics, only several hundred cars were sold. 

GM is not the first US car maker to suffer the irrational wrath of Venezuela’s dictator: in early 2015, Ford wrote off its investment in Venezuela when it took an $800 million pre-tax write down. Others have been hit too, and as a result a growing number of US companies are taking their Venezuelan operations out off their consolidated accounts. ExxonMobil pulled the plug on its operations in Venezuelan in 2007 after former President Hugo Chavez attempted to nationalized one of its projects. The oil producer then took the government to court. Coca-Cola was forced to halt production of Coke and other sugar-sweetened beverages last year due to a sugar shortage.

Finally, for those seeking legal remedies, we have one word of advice – patience: Venezuela still faces around 20 arbitration cases over nationalizations under late leader Hugo Chavez.

Source: ZeroHedge

Scenes From The Venezuela Apocalypse: “Countless Wounded” After 5,000 Loot Supermarket Looking For Food

Over the last several years we have documented with clockwork regularity Venezuela’s collapse into failed state status, which was cemented several weeks ago when news hit that “Venezuela had officially run out of money to print new money.”  At that point the best one could do was merely to step back and watch as local society and civilization turned on itself, unleashing what would ultimately turn into Venezuela’s own, sad apocalypse.

Last night we showed what Caracas, looks like this week:

As we wrote then these are simply hungry Venezuelans protesting that their children are dying from lack of food and medicine and that they do not have enough water or electricity. As AgainstCronyCapitalism added, this is a country with more oil than Saudi Arabia, and the government has stolen all the money and now they bottleneck peaceful protesters and threaten them with bombs (or haul them to prison and torture them).

As pure desperation has set in, crime has becomes inevitable. A man accused of mugging people in the streets of Caracas was surrounded by a mob of onlookers, beaten and set on fire, who published a pixeled-out but still graphic video of the man burning as mob justice is now the supreme arbiter of who lives and who dies:

“Roberto Fuentes Bernal, 42, was reportedly caught trying to mug passersby in the Venezuelan capital, and before police arrived at the scene, the crowd took the law into their own hands.” The video can be seen here.

Now, in the latest shocking development, Venezuela saw a new wave of looting this week that resulted in at least two deaths, countless wounded, and millions of dollars in losses and damages.

According to Panampost, on Wednesday morning, a crowd sacked the Maracay Wholesale Market in the central region of Venezuela.  According to the testimonies of merchants, the endless food lines that Venezuelans have been enduring to do groceries could not be organized that day.

As time went by, desperate Venezuelans grew anxious over not being able to buy food. Then they started jumping over the gates and stormed the supermarket.

“They took milk, pasta, flour, oil, and milk powder. There were 5,000 people” one witness told Venezuela outlet El Estímulo.

People from across the entire state came to the supermarket because there were rumors that some products not found anywhere else would be sold there.

As a result of the massive crowd, the authorities were unable to preserve the peace. “There were 250 people for each National Guard officer… lots of people and few soldiers. At least one officer was beat up because he tried to stop the crowd,” another source told El Estímulo.

Other food dispensaries run by the government were also looted by the people.

Far from the promised socialist paradise, as the massive group of people moved, an entrance gate collapsed under the weight of the crowd, leaving several wounded.

The image below shows a human stampede over rice.

Over the last two weeks, several provinces have hosted scenes of looting in pharmacies, shopping malls, supermarkets, and food delivery trucks. In several markets, shouts of “we are hungry!” echoed. On April 27, the Venezuelan Chamber of Food (Cavidea) reported that the country’s food producers only had 15 days left of inventory.

PanamPost adds that lootings are becoming an increasingly common occurrence in Venezuela, as the country’s food shortage resulted in yet another reported incident of violence in a supermarket — this time in the Luvebras Automarket located in the La Florida Province of Caracas.

Venezuelans lost control this week when offered small portions

Videos posted to social media showed desperate people falling over each other trying to get bags of rice. One user claimed the looting occurred because it is difficult to get cereal, and so people “broke down the doors and damaged infrastructure.”

In the central province of Carabobo, residents ransacked a corn warehouse located in the coastal city of Puerto Cabello. They reportedly broke down the gate because workers were giving away small portions.

“There’s no rice, no pasta, no flour,” resident Glerimar Yohan told La Costa, “only hunger.”

* * *

Social Collapse Is Inevitable

With the economy dead, the only thing remaining is to watch as society implodes. To that end, Oscar Meza, Director of the Documentation Center for Social Analysis (Cendas-FVM), said that measurements of scarcity and inflation in May are going to be the worst to date. “We are officially declaring May as the month that [widespread] hunger began in Venezuela,” he told Web Noticias Venezuela. … “As for March, there was an increase in yearly prices due to inflation — a 582.9 percent increase for food, while the level of scarcity of basic products remains at 41.37 percent.”


“We are officially declaring May as the month that hunger began
in Venezuela,” says an NGO that measures inflation and scarcity

Meza said the trigger for the crisis is the shortage of bread and other foods derived from wheat.

“Prices are so high that you can’t buy anything, so people don’t buy bread, they don’t buy flour. You get porridge, you see the price of chicken go up and families struggle … lunch is around 1,500 bolivars… People used to take food from home to work, but now you can’t anymore because you don’t have food at home.”

The is why, Español Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food. “Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger.”

Subsquently, Muchacho warned that Caribbean islands and Colombia may suffer an influx of refugees from Venezuela if food shortages continue in the country.

“As hunger deepens, we could see more Venezuelans fleeing by land or sea to an island,” Muchacho said.

And that is how all socialist utopias always end.

* * *

Meanwhile, as civil war appears inevitable, as previously reported there are factions vying to oust Maduro, although we are confident the dictator will hang on for dear life (literally) and force his population to endure more of this socialist nightmare. One can only hope that these shocking scenes remain relegated to the streets of offshore socialist paradises, although Americans should always prepare for the worst in case they eventually manage to make their way into the country.

Source: ZeroHedge


Is A Venezuela Coup Imminent? An Interview With A National Guardsman

Following several very disturbing stories about the start of Venezuela’s social apocalypse, in the first case chronicling “Streets Filled With People Killing Animals For Food” and then last night documenting “Countless Wounded” After 5,000 Loot Supermarket Looking For Food, we concluded that “as civil war appears inevitable, as there are factions vying to oust Maduro, although we are confident the dictator will hang on for dear life (literally) and force his population to endure more of this socialist nightmare.”

Today, now that speculation about a coup and/or civil war is becoming ever louder, we address some of these concerns courtesy of a must-read interview with a member of Bolivarian National Guard, the country’s national guardsmen, conducted by PanAm Post, which provides a critical blueprint of the next very tragic steps in Venezuela, which unfortunately now appear certainly to conclude with a national coup.

From PanAm Post:

Venezuela Is on the Brink of Social Collapse” National Guardsman

Food Shortages Cause Daily Looting, Energy Crisis Worsens as National State of Emergency Approaches

At the moment, the armed forces’ position vis-à-vis the government is not clear. Some speculate that the Bolivarian National Guard is divided. Others claim that the regime exerts full control over the Bolivarian National Guard’s members. The only certainty is that uncertainty abounds.

The PanAm Post had the opportunity to interview a Bolivarian National Guard member of middle rank, who asked to remain anonymous since his views could expose him to danger.

Why has the state launched an offensive against criminal groups?

The situation was getting out of hand for political reasons. The state has no means to control criminal groups. The country’s jails are in chaos. The streets themselves are in chaos. The state’s security personnel are unarmed.

The Maduro regime created the Organization for the Protection and Liberation for the People (OLP) to fight organized crime. Has that organization committed illegal acts as well?

From a legal standpoint, yes. Now from the point of view of the general population, no, because they tolerate harsh methods against the criminal bands.

But do they only kill criminals?

In the majority of cases.

Is the OLP really carrying out its operations strictly to end gang violence?

That is their main purpose. But there is also a political element. The OLP’s creation was a desperate measure. The government had given liberty to the gangs to do what they please. They armed them and now they are attacking them.

Is the OLP at war with gangs and with government officials at the same time?

Yes, because they can’t control them. They have become too powerful. They are armed and they teach military strategy. These criminals used to fight against each other. Now they have a truce between them and they fight the military and other security forces. They say, “as long as we kill them, we’ll survive.”

Does the state benefit by arming gangs? What is the regime trying to achieve?

Their goal is to have armed groups on their side in case of political turmoil. That is the final goal. Disarmament laws only affect innocent people. Criminal have many more weapons than we do at the National Guard. They also have much more power. We can’t control that now. Any solution will come too late.

The economic crisis and the public health crisis are becoming uncontrollable. The security forces are competent, but the government had to realize that the criminals were killing us all before they acted against them.

How corrupt is is the National Guard?

There is corruption in the National Guard, and there always has been. The difference is that, before, the system was more efficient. The National Guard decayed when it became political. Since we started to vote and to take part in the country’s political life, there has been no peace in the ranks.

Now there is pressure on us because we have to follow the constitution, but we also have to be loyal to our higher officers even when their orders don’t correspond to the laws. If their orders contradict the laws, you can’t follow them. So there is a rift between the security forces and the other institutions.

The government has an apparatus for persecution and espionage, so you can’t make negative statements about functionaries. The security services themselves are plagued by informants. You have to watch your every word.

All of those military upheavals denouncing the government, those attempts to overthrow the government — are they real?

No, the majority are false. There won’t be any coup attempts in Venezuela.

Why not?

Right now, all elements of the armed forces are under control. A coup-d’état takes place when you reach a breaking point and someone in the higher echelons of the armed forces decides that it’s time to act against the government. Right now in Venezuela, there are political divisions within the armed forces. There is neither the necessary unity nor the necessary organization for a coup to take place. Besides, officers fear the government’s informants. Everyone is on guard.

What will result from the current discontent?

The army and the National Guard are waiting. I can assure you that we are quite unhappy. But there is an entire structure above us, so it’s not easy to act. We receive criticism from all sides. Wherever I go, I come face to face with civilians’ displeasure and complaints. I also think the opposition has failed to take advantage of its opportunities to topple the government.

How so?

For example, when they won the parliamentary elections last December, the atmosphere was tense. The entire leadership knew what would happen. So did we. Former Speaker of the House Diosdado Cabello was willing to take the armed forces to the street against the opposition, but Padrino López, the Minister of Defense, didn’t allow him to do so.

What happened exactly on December 6?

The stories are true. That day there was a strong discussion between Padrino López and Cabello. López told Cabello that, if he ordered the troops to take the streets, he was going to have the army kill him.

But did Padrino López only do it to save his own skin?

Of course. He would have been responsible if the army started to massacre people. López was not going to allow that to happen. So that day the army was ordered to guard the opposition.

On whose side does Padrino López find himself? That day, a rumor got out that he was defending Chávez’s revolution.

Padrino López is intelligent, and I don’t doubt that he’s a chavista. But all branches of the armed forces are dissatisfied with the current situation. Imagine if one day they let Diosdado Cabello commit a massacre. If something like that occurs, the army will support President Maduro.

And what has the Bolivarian National Guard done during the recent demonstrations? Why has the army remained silent?

Those are two different situations. Like I said, government intelligence is an obstacle to action. The risk of not obeying orders is very large, but there is a lot of discontent and resentment due to the measures carried out by the Bolivarian National Guard and other officials.

If discontent is so widespread, why is there no talk of a coup?

That’s already been discussed. The coup d’état, we hope, will not be repeated. We remember what happened in 2002 with Chávez and we don’t want something similar to happen in the future.

We are rather waiting for things to get truly out of hand. And that will happen in the following months. The situation is extremely unstable and the status quo can’t last. We are witnessing daily looting at supermarkets, and people are protesting.

The crisis at Guri Dam (Venezuela’s most important hydroelectric power station) will get worse. Everything will get worse and there will be an implosion.

At that moment, the country’s future will be determined. I don’t believe there’s much time left.

Are you sure that something drastic will happen soon?

Without a doubt. The Bolivarian National Guard has already discussed the matter.

The situation in Venezuela has never been as bad as it is now. The breaking point is near, but still not at hand. My recommendation is for people to prepare, to look for food and then to store it. Obviously, when the implosion occurs , it won’t last long. I believe it will last something like 10 days, but they will be difficult days.

There will be a state of emergency, and that will bring the crisis to an end.

What will happen with the recall referendum that the opposition is trying to unleash against President Maduro?

That’s not a serious option. The regime has demonstrated that it can violate the constitution without second thoughts. They are going to accept the referendum, but only if they know they can win with any method available. The situation will only come to a head when hunger and the lack of electricity force people to take direct action.

So are the Armed Forces ready for a social catastrophe to take place?

We are really willing to intervene if the country undergoes a social catastrophe. It’s as if we have water in a pot and it begins to boil very slowly. There will be a moment when, if the gas is not turned off, the water begins to overflow and disaster ensues.

Source: ZeroHedge

Undercover Video Purports to Show Hillary Campaign Violating Election Law

Hidden cameras capture Clinton campaign staff in Nevada not only skirting election law but mocking it.

https://i1.wp.com/media.breitbart.com/media/2015/09/vertiasgupana-640x480.png

An undercover video published Thursday by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas purports to show Nevada-based Hillary Clinton campaign staffers and volunteers ignoring and knowingly violating Nevada’s voter registration laws. Moreover, the video appears to show that this conduct is being condoned and encouraged by a local attorney who works for the Clinton campaign.

 

According to the video, it is a felony in the state of Nevada for anyone involved in the voter registration process to “solicit a vote for or against a particular question or candidate; speak to a voter on the subject of marking his or her ballot for or against a particular question or candidate.”  

The video appears to show that numerous Hillary Clinton campaign staffers are well aware of the law. Nevertheless, the video shows them laughing at the law and repeatedly bragging about violating it by promoting Hillary Clinton verbally and with campaign literature as they attempt to register potential voters

The Project Veritas video further appears to show that the Clinton campaign staff solicits voter registration in close proximity to state offices, which may also violate Nevada law

According to the video, when the attorney in question, identified as Christina Gupana, was told about this alleged lawbreaking, she advised the staffers to, “Do whatever you can. Whatever you can get away with, just do it, until you get kicked out like totally.”

More than one staffer says that the campaign’s motto towards these laws is “Ask for forgiveness, not for permission.” 

Read more: by John Nolte in Breitbart

Venezuela Increasingly Looks Like A War Zone

Over the years, we have repeatedly poked fun at the transformation of Venezuela into a “socialist utopia” – an economy in a state of terminal collapse, where the destruction of the currency (one black market Bolivar is now worth 107 times less than the official currency’s exchange rate) and the resulting hyperinflation is only matched be barren wasteland that local stores have transformed into now that conventional supply chains are irreparably broken.

Just this past Wednesday we showed a clip of what is currently taking place inside Venezuela supermarkets, noting that “the hyperinflationary collapse in Venezuela is reaching its terminal phase. With inflation soaring at least 65%, murder rates the 2nd highest in the world, and chronic food (and toilet paper shortages), the following disturbing clip shows what is rapidly becoming major social unrest in the Maduro’s socialist paradise… and perhaps more importantly, Venezuela shows us what the end game for every fiat money system looks like (and perhaps Janet and her colleagues should remember that).”

Unfortunately, while mocking socialist paradises everywhere is a recurring theme especially once they have completely run out of other people’s money to burn through, what always follows next is far less amusing – completely social collapse, with riots, civil war and deaths not far behind.

That is precisely what the video shown below has captured. In the clip, a demonstration against Venezuela’s poor transportation services quickly turned violent. End result: one person dead from a gunshot wound, more than 80 arrested and four shops looted on the Manuel Piar Avenue in San Felix.

What is most disturbing is how comparable to an open war zone what was once a vibrant, rich and beautiful Latin American country has become.

This is just the beginning: with the ongoing collapse of the economy, the resultant acts of social violence will only deteriorate and claim more innocent lives, until the “socialist utopia” ends as it always does: with the arrival of a military coup or a full blown civil war.

Source: Zero Hedge

Ex-Chavez Bodyguard to Testify that Venezuela’s Socialist Gov is a Drug Cartel

https://reclaimourrepublic.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/fed-money.jpgSource: Reclaim Our Republic

Venezuela’s economy has been hit by low oil prices, but the regime has something to fall back on.

Leamsy Salazar, who had previously worked for late President Hugo Chávez’s security detail, is currently in Washington, where he is expected to provide witness testimony implicating Mr. Cabello in organizing cocaine-smuggling operations controlled by Venezuela’s military, two people familiar with the matter said.

Both people said the end goal is an indictment against Mr. Cabello on drug charges. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment, while officials at the State Department didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

Diosdado Cabello is the president of Venezuela’s national assembly and vice-president of the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV). Leamsy Salazar arrived in the country on January 26 accompanied by agents belonging to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

An post shared on Twitter by Ramón Pérez-Maura, an ABC journalist covering the case, stated that Salazar’s testimony had also linked Cuba with the country’s narcotrafficking trade, “offering protection to certain routes along which drugs were brought to Venezuela from the United States.”

Maybe Castro won’t need Obama’s money after all. Or maybe he will.

Given his background, Salazar certainly ought to be in the know. Prior to turning state’s witness, he spent over a decade as the head of Hugo Chávez’s personal security detail and sometime personal assistant; a YouTube video currently making the rounds on Venezuelan social media even shows El Comandante singing Salazar’s praises on TV. Following the death of Chávez in early 2013, Salazar was reassigned to Cabello, whom he is prepared to depict in court, according to ABC, as the capo di tutti capi of the “Soles” narcotics cartel.

The Soles cartel, named for the sun emblem embroidered on high-ranking Venezuelan military uniforms, is an alleged drug trading organization nested inside the armed forces. No one has ever managed to quite confirm its existence, though accounts of it have long circulated in the Caracas rumor mill (which, however unreliable, is the main alternate source of information for most Venezuelans now that censorship and state control have subdued the press).

Today, give or take President Nicolás Maduro himself, Cabello is widely considered the most powerful individual in post-Chávez Venezuela.

I doubt the State Department is too happy about this, but if the case moves further, the Maduro regime loses its last shreds of legitimacy. The question is will the investigation be pursued up the ladder into Cuba. And was this part of why Cuba was getting fuel freebies from Chavez?

This Chart Makes It Look Like It’s All Over In Venezuela

Supporter of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez holds a doll of him as she stands outside a military academy where the funeral ceremony for Chavez is held, in Caracas March 8, 2013.  Article source: Business Insider

Collapsing oil prices have a turned a difficult economic situation into a dire one. Oil exports brought in 60% of the country’s revenue.

And now, according the UBS, Venezuela has an 82% chance of collapsing within a year. The country will no longer be able to make payments to foreign investors without oil revenue as it was.

Economist Rafael del Fuente wrote in a recent note:

By the government’s own recognition, the economy contracted by 4% in the first three quarters of 2014;
inflation is running at close to 65%; the fiscal deficit has shot up above 15% of GDP by most estimates; and the black market exchange rate is trading at VEF180 to the dollar, almost 30 times higher than the official Cencoex rate.

Wall Street is watching and waiting, which is why the spread on Venezuela’s 5 year credit default swap — basically debt insurance — has spiked. You just don’t see charts like this everyday people.

Meanwhile, as foreign investors wait for the day Venezuela calls them and says, ‘sorry, we don’t have the cash’, ordinary Venezuelans suffer. The government cut them loose a while ago, doing nothing to curb rampant inflation (at 60%) and shortages of goods and food. People wait in line for days to enter grocery stores with empty shelves.

venezuelan cds skitch

On hearing this, the Venezuelan Minister of Food said — “I’ve been in tons of lines. I went to my favorite sports team’s game this weekend, and…I went to go buy an arepa [Venezuelan sandwich] … and I had to wait in line there, too.”

Venezuela Pushed Into Depression: Food Distribution Under Military Protection

Shoppers line up outside Excelsior Gama grocery story in the Chacao section of eastern Caracas on Jan. 9. 2015.

By Andrew Rosati and Noris Soto

Shoppers thronged grocery stores across Caracas today as deepening shortages led the government to put Venezuela’s food distribution under military protection.

Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce basic items such as detergent and chicken.

“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent — I can’t find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.”

A dearth of foreign currency exacerbated by collapsing oil prices has led to shortages of imports from toilet paper to car batteries, and helped push annual inflation to 64 percent in November. The lines will persist as long as price controls remain in place, Luis Vicente Leon, director of Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis, said today in a telephone interview.

Government officials met with representatives from supermarket chains today to guarantee supplies, state news agency AVN reported. Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said yesterday that security forces would be sent to food stores and distribution centers to protect shoppers.

Empty shelves sit in a supermarket in the La Boyera part of eastern Caracas on Jan. 9, 2015. Photographer: Noris Soto/Bloomberg

‘Into Desperation’

“Don’t fall into desperation — we have the capacity and products for everyone, with calmness and patience. The stores are full,” she said on state television.

President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an overhaul of the foreign exchange system. He has yet to provide details. While the main government-controlled exchange sets a rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar, the black market rate is as much as 187 per dollar.

Inside a Plan Suarez grocery store yesterday in eastern Caracas, shelves were mostly bare. Customers struggled and fought for items at times, with many trying to skip lines. The most sought-after products included detergent, with customers waiting in line for two to three hours to buy a maximum of two bags. A security guard asked that photos of empty shelves not be taken.

Police inside a Luvebras supermarket in eastern Caracas intervened to help staff distribute toilet paper and other products.

‘Looming Fear’

“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”

Venezuelan online news outlet VIVOplay posted a video of government food security regulator Carlos Osorio being interrupted by throngs of shoppers searching for products as he broadcast on state television from a Bicentenario government-run supermarket in central Caracas.

“What we’re seeing is worse than usual, it’s not only a seasonal problem,” Datanalisis’s Leon said. “Companies are not sure how they will restock their inventories or find merchandise, with a looming fear of a devaluation.”

The price for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged by more than half from last year’s peak in June to $47 a barrel this month.

“This is the worst it has ever been — I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”