Tag Archives: Venezuela

The Botched Infiltration of Venezuela Leaves Guaidó Tainted Beyond Repair

The townspeople of Chuao, Venezuela, being honored for their role in the capture of eight mercenaries.

The latest chapter in the ongoing effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government reads like a bad spy thriller: a group of mercenaries piloted speedboats from Colombia to Venezuela; half of them were killed or captured by Venezuelan security forces immediately upon landing, while the other half – apparently delayed by mechanical issues with their boat – surrendered to local police and militia the next day. Thirty-nine attackers have been captured so far, including two Americans, both former special forces soldiers. Their plan was to capture or kill high-value targets, including Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Instead, it failed miserably and raised more concerns about the leadership of opposition figure Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó’s Insidious Contract

Information about the attack continues to trickle out, yet there is overwhelming evidence of Guaidó’s involvement. According to multiple sources, Guaidó signed a $212 million contract with Jordan Goudreau, an ex-Green Beret, for Goudreau’s private security firm to overthrow President Maduro, although payments were never made. This corroborates an accusation made in late March by Clíver Alcalá, an opposition-aligned, retired Venezuelan general who surrendered to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency custody after being indicted for drug trafficking. Copies of a general services agreement with the signatures of Guaidó and Goudreau have been leaked online, and the Washington Post reported news of a video call in which Guaidó says he is “about to sign” the contract. Furthermore, several of the Venezuelans who took part in the raid have links to Guaidó, including at least two who participated in the April 30, 2019 coup attempt.

The paramilitary force that would have resulted from the contract has been described as similar to the death squads that operated in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala in the ’80s. This is no exaggeration. The contract explicitly identifies colectivos as a military target, without ever defining the term. The nebulousness of this term suggests that anyone who runs afoul of the paramilitaries could be categorized as part of a colectivo.

Leopoldo López, the founder and leader of Guaidó’s party Voluntad Popular, recently wrote an opinion piece in El País, Spain’s most important newspaper, in which he implied that chavismo is a virus like Covid-19. It is not difficult to see how this sort of rhetoric influenced the contract. Page 11 of the contract’s attachment B authorizes the “on scene commander” of an operation to lethally target certain civil servants of institutions – including the Foreign Ministry, Planning Ministry and Youth Ministry – even in cases that could result in high collateral damage. The message is clear; anyone close to a chavista can be considered expendable.

The United States’ role

The Venezuelan government, which was apparently able to stop the raid after being tipped off by sources in Colombia, accused the United States of being involved. The Trump administration has denied any involvement, but there is good reason to suspect otherwise. Secretary of State Pompeo left open the possibility that the U.S. knew “who bankrolled” the operation while refusing to “share any more information about what we know took place.” Moreover, the Associated Press reported that the DEA had informed Homeland Security of Goudreau’s plans to smuggle weapons into Colombia. Goudreau met twice with Keith Schiller, a longtime bodyguard and advisor to President Trump, and worked security at a Trump campaign rally in 2018. In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported the CIA was aware of the plan.

The plan involved kidnapping President Maduro, taking control of an airport, and flying him to the United States, ostensibly to collect on the $15 million bounty offered by the Department of Justice. Had the mercenaries been successful, it is hard to believe that the Trump administration, with the US Navy floating right outside Venezuela’s maritime border, would not have seized the opportunity to grab President Maduro.

Yet whether the United States government was involved in this particular raid, the Trump administration has been openly and directly supporting violent regime change in Venezuela since April 30, 2019. That is the date Guaidó launched his failed military uprising, in which he tried to take over a Caracas airbase. Had a few things gone differently that day, Venezuela would be in a civil war. Guaidó was responsible then and he is responsible now. Additionally, he was educated in Washington, he declared himself “president” because of Washington, he has bipartisan political support and he receives U.S. taxpayer money. Given Guaidó’s involvement, it is impossible for Washington to wash its hands of the plot. The Trump administration is responsible for giving him what little power he has, and therefore it is responsible for his actions.

A Growing Liability

Guaidó has denied knowledge of the affair, but he is proving to be a liability for the Trump administration. He has been photographed with members of a drug cartel who subsequently claimed Guaidó traded favors with them. His team embezzled funds raised from a “humanitarian aid” concert held in Colombia. He led a failed uprising in April 2019 that was ridiculed around the world, as it consisted of just a few dozen soldiers. He is using Venezuelan funds previously frozen in a Citibank account to pay his associates $5,000 a month while failing to deliver on promises to send Venezuelan doctors and nurses $100 for their efforts in fighting Covid-19. Now he faces credible accusations and evidence that he is involved in arms trafficking, financing a terror plot and planning a potential genocide in Venezuela.

The capture of two Americans may change the political landscape, as they are poised to become a point of contention between the Trump and Maduro administrations. Secretary Pompeo said the United States will “use every tool” to secure the release of the two Americans, but to date, there is one tool the Trump administration has never used with regards to Venezuela: dialogue. The best-case scenario is the handover of the pair to the United States as part of a deal to begin direct talks between the two governments. The worst-case scenario is that the Trump administration will perceive them as hostages and retaliate with military action.

Sensible politicians could use this event as a catalyst to spur talks within Venezuela and between Venezuela and the United States. The Puebla Group, a bloc of progressive Latin American politicians that includes ten former heads of state, has done just that, issuing a statement which warns that military action would lead to “geopolitical instability throughout Latin America” and calls for “democratic dialogue and a peaceful solution” to the conflict.

In the U.S., Democrats have been almost entirely silent on the matter, with the exception of a letter by Senators Chris Murphy, Tom Udall and Tim Kaine that questions the Trump administration’s tactics, but not its strategy or objectives. Unless Democrats begin to take advantage of the liability Guaidó represents and push back against Trump’s regime change efforts, there seems to be little hope of improving U.S. – Venezuela relations, regardless of who wins the presidency in November.

Source: by Leonardo Flores | Mint Press News

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

Trump Backed Venezuela Opposition Caught Embezzling ‘Humanitarian Aid’ Cash

Millions of dollars raised for “freedom and democracy” in Venezuela ended up spent in Colombia by the aides of US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, and were exposed by Colombian spies in yet another blow to his cause.

Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January and was recognized by the US and many of its Latin American allies, but has repeatedly failed to seize power from President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.

Now he seems farther from that goal than ever, as several of his aides have been named by Colombian intelligence in a leak revealing the embezzlement of US funds intended for paying Venezuelan army defectors. The funds were raised by a Live Aid-style concert, organized by billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson in February, and intended to coincide with Guaido’s followers forcing open the border with Colombia to US “humanitarian aid.”

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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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Joys Of Socialism: Venezuelans Looting Corpses For Jewelry And Bones

Venezuelans, desperate to find anything of value in their country where the currency has collapsed and widespread political and economic chaos rules, are now targeting whatever commodity they can get their hands on: this includes jewelry and human bones, which desperate locals can then sell for a profit, according to the BBC

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Getty Images

The British network spoke to relatives of those who had family members at one cemetery, the Cementerio del Sur, who are now standing guard at their relatives tombs to keep looters away. 

Eladio Bastida, whose wife is buried in the cemetery said: “I come here every week, or every two weeks. I keep watch. I worry I’ll arrive one day and she’ll be gone. When I buried her, you could just walk in here, but lately you can barely reach her grave, because every tomb has been opened and the remains taken out.”

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Looters are primarily looking for jewelry, gold teeth, and skeleton remains that can be sold for use in various rituals. Damage at cemeteries is so widespread that workers can’t keep up with repairing graves. Even historical figures like novelist and former Venezuelan president Rómulo Gallegos have had their graves looted. 

Bastida continued: “This is a lawless land, there is no respect for anything here. God will punish those people that are doing this.”

One resident, Jorge Liscano, told the BBC he plans to exhume his relatives’ remains to keep them safe: “This is the result of social collapse, a lack of education, the loss of values in our homes and our institutions. In recent years, this country has only focused on politics. We have forgotten about the things that make us human.”

The crisis in Venezuela has escalated recently as the national electric grid has broken down and left residents without basic human needs. Managing the remains of the deceased continues to be a challenge in the country. 

Reports from local morgues last year revealed exploding corpses due to a lack of effective refrigeration. Most corpses placed in morgues quickly enter what is known as the emphysematous phase of decomposition, where they can no longer contain the gases and putrid fluids accumulated inside and burst as a result.

And even the country’s criminals are now seeking greener pastures:

Many morgues are also struggling to handle the sheer number of arriving dead bodies, many of whom have died as a result of violence or lack of basic medical care. A report from the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV) published last December found that murder rates actually fell over the course of 2018 because violent criminals joined the millions of people fleeing the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis.

But why worry about the borders, right?

Meanwhile, it was just days ago that we reported on the “Zombie Apocalypse” that the country has become, sharing photos of Caracas, looking empty and desolate. A series of AP photographs presented Caracas as essentially becoming a ghost town after sunset, painting eerie scenes of the empty streets and stores. 

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When dusk turns to night, the AP reports, “the once-thriving metropolis empties under darkness” after recently “a string of devastating nationwide blackouts last month dramatized the decay.” Horrifyingly for common Venezuelans, years of mismanagement under the Maduro government and externally imposed isolation along with biting US sanctions have further sent Venezuela’s health care system into “utter collapse,” a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report also finds

The population has also witnessed a rapid resurgence of preventable deadly diseases. With near constant electricity shortages and sometime complete mass outages, once popular shops in upscale Caracas neighborhoods have struggled to stay open at all.

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US officials have repeatedly blamed President Nicolas Ocasio-Cortez Maduro for overseeing a socialist system of vast corruption; however, Caracas officials have blamed a decade of US sanctions for exacerbating the suffering of ordinary citizens.

Source: ZeroHedge

Venezuela Plunged Back Into Darkness Hours After Russian Troops Arrive

Less than one day after two Russian Air Force planes landed in Venezuela carrying nearly 100 troops and a Russian defense official, a new power outage was detected across the country at 1pm local time, affecting 57% of the country, according to Netblocks – which detects power outage based on internet outages. 

Today marks the third power outage this month, which began on March 7. In response to the earlier outages, Venezuela’s Defense Ministry vowed to deploy armed forces to protect the national electricity system. 

President Nicolás Maduro blamed Washington for the earlier outages, claiming over Twitter that the Trump administration was engaged in an “electrical war” which was “announced and directed by American imperialism against our people.” 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied the charge. 

As we reported earlier, Russian Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces – First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, touched down in Venezuela yesterday. A Venezuelan official told AP that the visit was to discuss training, strategy and equipment.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/FNjW8wH0tIs-1024x533_0.jpg?itok=SjewiSmbShortly after the Russians arrived, an S-300 air defense missile defense battery was deployed to a key airbase south of Caracas.

In response to what is now looking like a setup for yet another proxy war, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior.

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According to Reuters Pompeo conveyed the message directly via a phone call with his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Spokesman Robert Palladino addressed the phone call in the following statement:

The secretary told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela.

Palladino added that Pompeo specifically condemned Russian military support for the “illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.” 

As we reported previously this week’s tensions follows a high-level meeting in Rome last week, during which Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied – thus it appears Russia is taking no chances with its South American ally.

And just like that, the power goes out. 

Source: ZeroHedge

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Maduro Allegedly Foils US Assassination Plot Against Him That Used BofA Funds 

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“The North American imperialism wants to kill me.”

Russian Troops, Aid Arrive In Venezuela After Delivering Red Line Warning To Trump

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“We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

Venezuela Military Deploys S-300 Missiles Following Russian Troop Arrival

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Satellite images reveal new S-300 build-up south of Caracas.

 

 

Cyberattacks, Solar Storms, & EMP Weapons: US Power Grid Extremely Vulnerable, Extended Blackout Is Inevitable

A lot of Americans are mocking Venezuela right now, but the truth is that what has happened to them could also happen to us very easily. 

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(Michael Snyder) As you will see below, DARPA is so concerned about the possibility of a cyberattack taking down our power grid that they held an extended exercise recreating such a scenario late last year.  And even though scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a “solar tsunami” will absolutely devastate our power grid at some point, our leaders on the federal level refuse to spend the money that it would take to protect our basic electrical infrastructure.  In addition, Russia, China, North Korea and others have developed extremely advanced EMP weapons, and we have absolutely no protection against them.  One way or another, an extended blackout will eventually happen in the United States, and so we should try to learn some lessons from what is going on in Venezuela right now.

And without a doubt, life is hell in Venezuela at this moment.  The following comes from NPR

Signs of the crisis are everywhere you look in the Venezuelan capital. “Drive around Caracas, and you see long lines of cars waiting for hours at the few gas stations still operational,” NPR’s Philip Reeves reported from the city.

“Motorists park on highways, cell phones aloft, searching for a signal. The rich have taken refuge in luxury hotels. The poor stand in lines in the street,” Reeves added.

The power outage has affected water pumps in some Caracas neighborhoods, meaning that people are waiting to fill water bottles at public locations such as springs.

As food supplies run out, people are becoming increasingly desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.

Hundreds of stores are being looted, and the overwhelmed police are instructing store owners to fend for themselves

Looters smashed shop windows and made off with merchandise in more than 300 businesses across the state along the border with Colombia, the Zulia chapter of business organization Fedecamaras said in a statement.

“About 100 people came into the store and took all the food, the point of sale terminals,” said Maria Centeno, 29, the owner of a store selling food and furniture that was looted on Sunday. “They were people from the community. The police came by and they told me to sort it out myself.”

Of even greater concern is the fact that many people are dying from a lack of medical care.

Without power, there is little that the doctors are able to do, and one mother was forced to actually carry the body of her dead daughter through the streets to a morgue after the local hospital was unable to help her

A severely malnourished 19-year-old girl died in her mother’s arms after doctors in Venezuela were forced to turn her away because a massive blackout shut down a hospital.

Heartbroken mother Elizabeth Díaz was forced to carry her daughter’s body, which weighed just 22 pounds, through the streets to a morgue.

A lot of Americans are mocking what is going on in Venezuela, but the truth is that the exact same thing could happen here too.

Many believe that the extended blackout in Venezuela was caused by a cyberattack, and unfortunately the truth is that the U.S. power grid is also quite vulnerable if someone decided to attack us in the same manner.

Last November, DARPA held a seven day exercise that simulated what would happen if a massive cyberattack suddenly took down our grid…

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency exercise, which took place from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, was fictional, but it was designed to mimic all the hurdles and uncertainty of a real-world cyberattack that took out power across the nation for weeks on end–a scenario known as a “black start.”

To add realism, the exercise took place on Plum Island, a federal research facility off the north fork of Long Island, where DARPA researchers were able to segregate a portion of the island on its own electric grid.

Over the course of the seven-day exercise, more than 100 people gathered on the island, filling every necessary role to mimic an actual black start.

Of course that is not the only way our power grid could go down for an extended period.

Our sun is capable of producing a “solar tsunami” that could absolutely cripple our electrical grid at any time.  Earlier this week, I came across an article about a gigantic solar tsunami that hit out planet approximately 2,700 years ago

Roughly 2,700 years ago, an unusually powerful solar storm swept past the Earth, scientists announced in a new study. Though it had little to no impact on people in that long ago, pre-industrial and pre-technological world, such an event today would cause widespread power outages along with potentially disastrous communication and navigation failures.

The solar storm in 660 B.C. was about 10 times stronger than any known event in the past 70 years, study lead author Raimund Muscheler said.

But we don’t have to go back that far to find the kind of solar storm that I am talking about.

In 1859, an absolutely enormous solar storm known as “the Carrington Event” hit the United States…

The solar storm of 1859 (also known as the Carrington Event)[1] was a powerful geomagnetic storm during solar cycle 10 (1855–1867). A solar coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetosphere and induced one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record, September 1–2, 1859. The associated “white light flare” in the solar photosphere was observed and recorded by British astronomers Richard C. Carrington (1826–1875) and Richard Hodgson (1804–1872). The now-standard unique IAU identifier for this flare is SOL1859-09-01.

A solar storm of this magnitude occurring today would cause widespread electrical disruptions, blackouts and damage due to extended outages of the electrical grid.[2][3] The solar storm of 2012 was of similar magnitude, but it passed Earth’s orbit without striking the planet, missing by nine days.[4]

If such a storm hit us right now, electronic devices would be fried from coast to coast and the power grid would be down for the foreseeable future.  Life would dramatically change for all of us, and chaos would be unleashed all across this nation.

This is just one of the reasons why I so strongly encourage people to get prepared, because our government is most definitely not preparing for this kind of threat.

Lastly, I want to also mention that Russia, China and North Korea have been developing highly sophisticated “Super-EMP weapons” that we have no defense for.  The following is from the Washington Free Beacon

Several nations, including China and Russia, are building powerful nuclear bombs designed to produce super-electromagnetic pulse (EMP) waves capable of devastating all electronics—from computers to electric grids—for hundreds of miles, according to a newly-released congressional study.

A report by the now-defunct Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack, for the first time reveals details on how nuclear EMP weapons are integrated into the military doctrines of China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

For much more on the threat that we are facing, please see my previous article entitled “Amerigeddon: Are You Ready For The Chaos That Will Ensue When The Power Grid Is Brought Down?”

Sadly, most Americans do not understand how vulnerable we are, and when the power suddenly goes out someday they will have no idea what is happening.

So keep a close eye on Venezuela right now, because the exact same things that are happening there will eventually happen here too.

It is just a matter of time.

Source: ZeroHedge

Sabotage Blamed For Grind Down In Venezuela

Venezuelan president says complete blackout caused by ‘an international cyber-attack’ with support from within.

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Maduro attended a rally in support of his government in Caracas on March 9 [Miraflores Palace/Reuters]

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says the country’s complete electrical failure has been caused by “an international cyber-attack” but that his administration has “defeated their coup”.

Power and communication outages continue to hit Venezuela on Sunday, intensifying the hardship of a country paralysed by economic and political crises.

The blackout heightened tensions between the opposition and government loyalists, who accuse each other of being responsible for the collapse of the power grid.

“I will tell this for the first time,” Maduro told the hushed crowd in Caracas on Saturday. “We are in the process of investigation and correcting it all because there are many infiltrators attacking the electrical company from within.”

Maduro stated that Venezuela had been hit yet again by another “cyber-attack” at noon on Saturday.

‘Permanent state of alert’

Speaking to Al Jazeera from the Perez Carreno flagship hospital in Caracas, Lorelei Gorrin, an emergency surgeon, said she had just completed one of the toughest shifts of her life.

“I didn’t stop receiving patients. We could only help those who had life-threatening issues,” said Gorrin.

“The generator worked, but I was worried it would suddenly stop working. We don’t know when we’re going to lose power again, or how we’re going to deal with that. If we had to resort to manual respiratory aid devices, we would not have enough to help all those that need them.

“We’re in a permanent state of alert, which is mentally and emotionally draining,” she said.

Across Venezuela, millions of people are affected by the continued blackout.

Valeria Castillo, a 43-year-old actress, told Al Jazeera she briefly “escaped” her home where she takes care of her ailing parents to attend an opposition rally in the capital.

“The entire floor of the house is full of candle wax. My father is very old and sometimes soils himself and washing him has been a real pain with no power and no water as the pump does not work,” said Castillo.

Support for Maduro

Still, many Venezuelans continue to support Maduro in his ongoing fight against what he calls US imperialism.

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators at a pro-Maduro rally danced and waved flags on what organisers labelled a “day of anti-imperialism”, in a show of defiance towards the US, which has imposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in an attempt to overthrow the president.

Many showed up wearing red caps and shirts in support of the self-proclaimed “socialist revolution” of leader Hugo Chavez, who died six years ago and was succeeded by his protege, Maduro.

Lidia Calderon, 37, joined the rally saying she relies on Maduro to fix the situation.

“He does what he can to maintain the peace. And it is very clear that the electricity [situation] is a war against the people,” said Calderon.

Maduro’s government has not moved directly against opposition leader Juan Guaido since he returned to Venezuela from a Latin American tour on Monday. 

But on Saturday, Maduro stepped up verbal attacks on Guaido, calling him “a clown and puppet” in a speech to his supporters outside Miraflores, the presidential palace.

He scoffed at Guaido’s claim in late January to be interim president of Venezuela, a declaration supported by the US and about 50 other countries.

“We have defeated their coup,” said Maduro. “They tried illegitimately to turn into a president a person in a public square and now, today, it is obvious to the world he is not a president, not anything. A clown and a puppet is what that man [Guaido] is. Delinquent citizen.”

Maduro also accused Guaido and his US allies of sabotaging Venezuela’s Guri Dam, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric stations and the cornerstone of Venezuela’s electrical grid.

He said authorities had restored 70 percent of power in Venezuela since a nationwide outage hit late Thursday, but progress was lost on Saturday when “infiltrators” allegedly struck again.

The Venezuelan opposition and US officials say Maduro’s attempts to pin blame on his political adversaries is absurd, and that government corruption and mismanagement over many years caused the blackout and wider deterioration of the economy.

In another blow to Venezuela’s infrastructure, an explosion occurred at a power station in the country’s Bolivar state on Saturday, according to local media.

Netblocks, a non-government group based in Europe that monitors internet censorship, said on Saturday that the second outage had knocked out almost all of Venezuela’s telecommunications infrastructure.

Source: Al Jazeera News

***

“This Country Has Gone To Hell”: Total Chaos In Venezuelan Oil Capital After Blackout

“They’re pulling wires, air conditioners, pipes… they’re literally running off with the roof.’’

Looters Pillage Venezuela Supermarkets As Crippling Blackout Hits Day Five

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***

Trump Regime Electricity War in Venezuela More Serious Than First Believed

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China Offers To Help Venezuela Restore Power As Maduro Accuses Trump, Guaido Of “Sabotage”

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“An imperialist electromagnetic attack” 

 

 

 

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. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/food%20line%20vene.jpg?itok=_O39NjSV

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

Venezuelan Army Troops Desert In Droves Ahead Of Presidential Election

The Venezuelan Army could be nearing a collapsing point, as high-ranking military officers and enlisted troops “are joining the exodus of Venezuelans to Colombia and Brazil, fleeing barracks and forcing President Nicolas Maduro’s government to call upon retirees and militia to fill the void,” said Bloomberg.

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Venezuela’s economic crisis keeps getting worse, as high desertion rates are now plaguing military bases in Caracas and the countryside, which poses significant security challenges in the upcoming presidential election on May 20. By law, the military oversees all voting centers throughout the country, including the electoral materials and voting machines.

“The number is unknown because it used to be published in the Official Gazette. Now, it is not,” said San Miguel, director of Control Ciudadano, a military watchdog group in Caracas. She said soldiers are fleeing for the same reason citizens are: “Wages are low, the quality of food and clothing isn’t good.”

A massive shortage of enlisted troops and military officers comes as more than one million Venezuelans have escaped the collapsed economy, according to the International Organization for Migration. Hyperinflation has made the country’s currency worthless, which has sparked a biblical humanitarian crisis across the failed state.

According to one unnamed retired officer, military personnel who rank as high as generals were recently “called in and quartered for several days at their units.” The government has called in retired officers and militia members, as the hemorrhaging continued before the election in twelve days. “Government officials are training these fill-in personnel for the election,” said a second anonymous retired officer.

Bloomberg said the U.S. and regional organizations would not “recognize the balloting as legitimate,” due to the military’s deep involvement with the election process.

“As the once-prosperous nation fell apart, Maduro consolidated power by creating an all-powerful assembly to bypass the national legislature. The regime jailed and banned opponents and launched a wave of arrests before the May 20 vote. The U.S. and regional organizations have refused to recognize the balloting as legitimate, and the main opposition coalition has promised a boycott in the face of what it says will be a rigged contest.

Venezuelan elections are overseen by its military, the strongest force in the country and one increasingly intertwined with Maduro’s regime. The rush to fill out units is required by the so-called Plan Republica, the security deployment of the Defense Ministry that begins on the eve of election day and lasts until the day after. By law, the armed forces are guarantors of peace and security, guarding ballots and voting machines at all 14,000-odd voting sites. They transport these materials and machinery to each voting center, often a school, and guard it,” said Bloomberg.

Control Ciudadano’s San Migue said in March that the level of desertion from the Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana has increased to dangerous levels in the last year, noting that the exodus is primarily enlisted troops. She said 10,000 troops have recently asked to retire.

“Since 2015 there has been an increase in military detainees accused of treason, desertion and other crimes,” she added. “Our estimate is that there are 300 people who are imprisoned, mostly troops. A few are senior officers, others are civilians linked to the military.”

Gonzalo Himiob, director of Foro Penal, a human-rights group, said, “those who ask to retire are put into arrest for a week at the military counterintelligence headquarters.”

Himiob added, “that’s how worried the government is.” He also said most flee the country after they are released from jail. In recent days, the government has run out of jail cells for military personnel who have asked to retire.

A flashpoint could be developing as President Maduro suggested that he will start an armed revolution if his opposition comes into power that wants to hand the country’s “riches” to “imperialist” forces [Americans]. In a campaign speech last week, President Maduro — who is hoping to win a new six-year presidential term in the highly disputed May 20 election — attacked his opposition rival, Henri Falcón, of wanting to sell the country’s vast natural resources to “the gringos.”

Nevertheless, Venezuela could soon face the first full-blown civil war the Western world has experienced in more than 100-years, as it now appears the country’s military is imploding before an election that the U.S. will not recognize the results.

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.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/c5aba941bf9af117e12040acc0ae91a58dfa2112/0_117_3500_2100/master/3500.jpg?w=620&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=4e2685bd5b614954bf9a3886f4885638Amid desperate food shortages Venezuelans are picking up new survival skills.

 

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

A Major Shift From West To East Is Occurring As The Dollar Dies. Are You Prepared?

Americans need to shake off their FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and start taking real steps to protect their wealth before the $USD is no longer the world’s dominant reserve currency. This involves converting USD denominated paper assets into physical Gold, Silver and a little Cryptocurrency to preserve your purchasing power … before the multi-polar world of tomorrow arrives.  

A big part of life on the other side of this event will involve dealing with wide spread shortages (including food) that accompany the high cost of imported goods that follow a credit and currency collapse, until America’s domestic manufacturing base can be brought back up. Think decades, not months or years to fully recover. This means you should be accumulating resources necessary to more easily stretch through this period while they are relatively cheap and plentiful in today’s dollars. Otherwise, you might find yourself living like the 99% are in Venezuela today.  

Enjoy the show …

 

Shocking Footage: Venezuelan National Guard Truck Drives Through Crowd Of ‘Dissidents’

For several weeks Venezuela has been rocked with protests and riots as the Maduro regime increasingly tightens its grip on the population. It seems as if security forces are brutally cracking down on dissidents on a daily basis now.

Take a look at what happened yesterday in Caracas, after an armored vehicle owned by the Venezuelan National Guard caught fire.

So the communists are protesting the troops of the socialist Maduro who are in fact driving the trucks. Is there a chapter in Marx’s book that foretells what happens next? ;-

Source: ZeroHedge

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

“It’s Pure Chaos Now; There Is No Way Back” – Venezuela Morgues Are Overflowing (video)

When we previewed Venezuela’s upcoming hyperinflation, which in January was predicted to be 720% and as of this moment is likely far higher…


… we said “This Is What The Death Of A Nation Looks Like” and said “there is no good news in any of the above for the long-suffering citizens of this “socialist paradise” which any minute now will be downgraded to its fair value of “socialist hell.

Subsequent news that Venezuela was now openly liquidating its gold reserves while its president, in an amusing twist, announced last week, that henceforth every Friday will be a holiday, (the term there was a slightly different meaning) to cut down on electricity usage (while blaming El Nino for its electricity rationing) merely confirmed that the end if nigh for this once flourishing Latin American nation.

Sadly, while we have been warning for years about Venezuela’s inevitable, economic devastation, we said it was only a matter of time before the chaos spreads to broader society and leads to total collapse.

That may have arrived because as even the FT now admits, after visiting the main Caracas morgue, Venezuela risks a descent into chaos.

But back to the morgue of central Caracas, where FT correspondent Andres Schipani writes that the stench forces everyone to cover their nostrils. “Now things are worse than ever,” says Yuli Sánchez. “They kill people and no one is punished while families have to keep their pain to themselves.

Ms Sánchez’s 14-year-old nephew, Oliver, was shot five times by malandros, or thugs, while riding on the back of a friend’s motorcycle. His uncle, Luis Mejía, remarked that in a fortnight three members of their family had been shot, including two youths who were shot by police.

Sounds a little like Chicago on a Friday… only in Venezuela things are even worse: “an economic, social and political crisis facing Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s unpopular president, is being aggravated by a rise in violence which is prompting fears that this oil-rich country risks becoming a failed state.”

Even the morgue employees are asking if they should give up.

“What can we do?” Mr Mejía asks. “Give up.” The morgue employee in charge of handling the corpses notes that a decade ago he received seven or eight bodies every weekend. These days, he says, that number has risen to between 40 and 50: “This is now wilder than the wild west.

Critics say that the Venezuelan government is increasingly unable to provide citizens with water, electricity, health or a functioning economy which can supply basic food staples or indispensable medicines, let alone personal safety.

In other words, total socioeconomic collapse. This is what it looks like:

Last month alone, Venezuelans learned of the summary execution of at least 17 gold miners supposedly by a mining Mafia, the killing of two police officers allegedly by a group of students who drove a bus into a barricade, and a hostage drama inside a prison at the hands of a grenade-wielding criminal gang. On Wednesday, three policemen were killed when an armed gang busted a member out of a lock-up in the capital.

At least 10 were killed in a Caracas shanty town after a confrontation between local thugs armed with assault rifles, while a local mayor was gunned down outside his home in Trujillo state last month. There are widespread reports of lynchings.

All this is creating a broad unease that Mr Maduro is unable to maintain order… There is a lack of basic goods. Analysts warn that the economic crisis risks turning in to a humanitarian one.

Some refuse to acknowledge that a state erected on so much oil wealth can be a failed state:

“Failed state is a nebulous concept often used too lightly. That’s not the case with today’s Venezuela,” says Moisés Naím a Venezuelan distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The evidence of state failure is very concrete in the country that sits on top of the world’s largest oil reserves.”

Alas, a failed state is precisely what Venezuela has become: Venezuela is already one of the world’s deadliest countries. The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, a local think-tank, says the murder rate rose last year to 92 killings per 100,000 residents. The attorney-general cites a lower figure of 58 homicides per 100,000. This is up from 19 per 100,000 in 1998, before Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez took power.

It gets worse, because in addition to a soaring murder rate, the government itself is implicated.

“Venezuelans are facing one of the highest murder rates in the hemisphere and urgently need effective protection from violent crime,” said José Miguel Vivanco HRW’s Americas director. “But in multiple raids throughout the country, the security forces themselves have allegedly committed serious abuses.”

Their findings show that police and military raids in low-income and immigrant communities in Venezuela have led to widespread allegations of abuse, including extrajudicial killings, mass arbitrary detentions, maltreatment of detainees, forced evictions, the destruction of homes, and arbitrary deportations.

And like all other failed governments, Maduro’s administration is quick to deflect blame, instead accusing violence within its borders on Colombian rightwing paramilitaries “engaged in a war against its revolution.” But as David Smilde and Hugo Pérez Hernáiz of the Washington Office on Latin America, a think-tank, recently wrote: “Attributing violence in Venezuela to paramilitary activity has been a common rhetorical move used by the government over the past year, effectively making a citizen security problem into a national security problem.”

For many Venezuelans it no longer matters who is to blame. “It is a state policy of letting anarchy sink in,” says a former policeman outside the gates of a compound in Caracas.

The FT adds that the former police station now houses the Frente 5 de Marzo, one of the political groups that consider themselves the keepers of socialism’s sacred flame. The gates bear the colours of the Venezuelan flag and are marked with bullet holes. The man believes there is something akin to a civil war going on.

Venezuela is pure chaos now. It seems to me there is no way back,” the former policeman says.  He is right.

* * *

And since words can not fully do a failed state justice, here is a video clip from Jeff Berwick showing the reality on the ground in the country where “socialism’s sacred flame” is about to go out for good … WATCH what’s really going on in Caracas !

Bernie Sanders Praising Bread Lines and Food Rationing

source: ZeroHedge

Venezuela: the land of 500% inflation

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.”