Starvation, horror in Venezuela

It surprise me how everything went back to Trump administration and the democrats are trying to undermine it. 


For the question of Venezuela, there is not too much about political or diplomatic or war threats that can be done (and amany have been done already by the US, some European Countries and some Latinamerican countries), but about money. Those actions have helped, but have not fix the problem
The issue remains very well economical: China (and somehow Russia) are still giving money to Maduro's regime, helping him in power. There are also around 400k bpd of oil products sold to US that are also being paid (and it fact it's the unique cash allowance of the goverment). 
In my view there is only one way to fix this: A restless and permanent civil disobedience of the Venezuelan people AND starving the financial of the government, cutting all cash income will and making tougher financial transaction will make things way more difficult. Although still Iran, Russia and Turkey will help Maduro and his compadres to stay alive (Venezuela has shipped more than 20 tons of gold to Turkey this year https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-gold-turkey/venezuela-exported-779-mln-in-gold-to-turkey-in-2018-data-idUSL1N1UF113). things will get more complicated in the diplomatic sphere and with the internal push the government will break down.
 

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pictures and videos in the link.

Brazil Deploys Troops To Venezuela Border After Migrant Chaos - "This Is Going To Turn Into War!"

The situation in Pacaraima was critical on Saturday, migrant camps were overwhelmed by angry residents following reports that a local restaurant owner had been attacked by a gang of Venezuelans.

There has been growing hostility towards the numbers of Venezuelan migrants entering the Roraima state, Brazil’s northernmost region, in recent months.

Groups of men carrying blunt objects set fire to the camps and other items belonging to the Venezuelans, and more than one thousand migrants fled town back across the border.

“More than 1,200 Venezuelan migrants returned to Venezuela,” after Saturday’s violence, a spokesman for a Brazilian migration task force told AFP.

“The city looks deserted today, it’s very quiet because police reinforcements have arrived and the markets are reopening,” said a local in the town of around 12,000, who did not want to be identified.

Brazil’s public security ministry said it deployed 60 government soldiers to support the police in the area. They are due to arrive on Monday.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Jan van Eck said:

You people are reading Breitbart News?   For real?  

I had never visited their site before Tom provided a link to another article there.  So it's his fault!  🙃  Anyhoo, the article seems pretty accurate, doesn't it?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just now, Dan Warnick said:

I had never visited their site before Tom provided a link to another article there.  So it's his fault!  🙃  Anyhoo, the article seems pretty accurate, doesn't it?

What troubles me is how Breitbart News and their readers are so jubilant over the suffering and privation of other people, anyone "not white, not like them."  This Breitbart crowd fails any and every possible metric of Christian thought, basically they are the worst rednecks that have effectively dropped out of the human race - and seek to take America down a very dark path.  This is a crowd that seeks to abolish law, abolish the US Constitution, impose suffering on women, put migrant infants and toddlers in cages, impose its narrow views on everybody else, shuns the planet, and revels in the poverty and suffering of others, especially (but not limited to) black Africans, the Sudanese, Haitians, the Middle East, Armenians, Palestinians, Indians, Pakistanis, and now anybody and everybody in South America.  It is a very long list. 

These are not decent people.  You want to stay away from the indecent, before they start to infect your mind. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 8/20/2018 at 6:19 PM, Tom Kirkman said:

Pictures and videos in the link.

Brazil Deploys Troops To Venezuela Border After Migrant Chaos - "This Is Going To Turn Into War!"

The situation in Pacaraima was critical on Saturday, migrant camps were overwhelmed by angry residents following reports that a local restaurant owner had been attacked by a gang of Venezuelans.

There has been growing hostility towards the numbers of Venezuelan migrants entering the Roraima state, Brazil’s northernmost region, in recent months.

Groups of men carrying blunt objects set fire to the camps and other items belonging to the Venezuelans, and more than one thousand migrants fled town back across the border.

So now we are confronted with the impoverished, the starving that is eating rotting garbage out of the garbage dumps and living in these hovels of plastic sheets and some cardboard in the streets of the Brazilian border towns, being attacked by poor Brazilians who see them as competing for ever scarce resources - and everybody else on the planet just shrugging their shoulders, "not my yob." 

I feel my stomach churning. This is just so depressing.  When does the civilized world issue an arrest warrant for Maduro, charging him with crimes against humanity?  If anyone deserves a cell in Guantanamo, it's him.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

So now we are confronted with the impoverished, the starving that is eating rotting garbage out of the garbage dumps and living in these hovels of plastic sheets and some cardboard in the streets of the Brazilian border towns, being attacked by poor Brazilians who see them as competing for ever scarce resources - and everybody else on the planet just shrugging their shoulders, "not my yob." 

I feel my stomach churning. This is just so depressing.  When does the civilized world issue an arrest warrant for Maduro, charging him with crimes against humanity?  If anyone deserves a cell in Guantanamo, it's him.

It's only going to get much worse in Venezuela.  No chance of things improving in Venezuela any time soon, as long as Venezuela continues its deliberate road to ruin down the path of socialism.

WAYNE ALLYN ROOT: PROOF Liberals are a Danger to All of Us

There is no need to guess if the socialist policies of today’s Democrat Party work. Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America only 20 years ago. That’s when they practiced capitalism. Then socialist Hugo Chavez took over. He modeled Venezuela after the Cuban model.

Today there is no food on shelves…very little water…no gas available in an oil-rich country…no toilet paper. The proud people of Venezuela are eating out of dumpsters and garbage cans.

Days ago, it got much worse. The socialist president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro devalued the currency overnight by 96 percent. This is one of the largest currency devaluations in world history.

Inflation is now officially one million percent in Venezuela.

But have no fear. Venezuela’s socialist leader introduced bold new policies to save the country. His solutions to the unfolding disaster? Higher taxes, subsidized gas prices and a massive minimum wage increase.

Do you recognize those solutions? Those are the exact prescriptions of Democrat politicians in America.

Every Democrat running for president in 2020 offers the same tired socialist solutions. They all propose higher taxes, more regulations, more government control, higher minimum wages, free or subsidized everything- from free college, to free healthcare, to free universal income, to subsidized solar panels and electric cars.

But why go all the way to Venezuela to see the model. Just look at Chicago. Almost 60 more black Chicagoans were shot this past weekend. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 8/14/2018 at 4:34 AM, Eodmatt said:

When I was being educated as a Catholic at St Mary's many years ago, the priests told us that they couldn't explain some things (virgin birth and all that

The virgin birth is pretty easy to explain, actually.  I am often dismayed at priests.  They have a lot of time on their hands and should spend it studying so they can answer questions like this.  At least, that is what they used to do in the past.  Aquinas was a master at that, but in more recent years, things seem to have changed. 

But back to your question: the virgin birth is easy to explain.  In fact, it happens in many countries all over the world, especially in animals.  In fact, if you really want, you can get a virgin pregnant for only $139 USD:

https://www.amazon.com/Inseminator-Home-Self-Insemination-Kit/dp/B01I223TBE?th=1

The harder part is understanding why angels would do this in the first place.  However, if you look at many of the ancient historical records, this angelic practice of impregnating virgins was quite common.  The Greek angels would do this to women all of the time and create hybrid humans that could accomplish superhuman feats, or at least that is how the historic accounts go.  We find the same stories with the Norse, and with the Egyptians, and with the Hebrews.  If fact, those stories are found all over the world and they are all so remarkably similar, at least in concept.  Although much of the data found in these accounts is likely to be myth or hearsay, I still cannot help but wonder at the unusual nature of the similarities we find between them.  It often seems too coincidental to be completely fabricated.  Although making the leap to believe in angels might be a stretch for some, once you have taken that step, the virgin birth follows easily enough.  Since we have the technology to perform virgin births today, it is not hard to imagine that the angels possessed similar technology in the past.  In fact, almost all of the miracles found in the Bible could be replicated by today's tech, and so once you believe in angles, everything else follows easily.  

The hard step is believing in the angels...

The main reason this is so difficult is because of human reason.  We often imagine that if they really existed, then why don't we have scientific proof of their existence?  I have two theories for that.  First, if angels possessed tech similar to our 2000 years ago, it is likely that their tech is now so much better than ours that now we probably wouldn't even recognize it as 'tech'.  For instance, they could take a fly and manipulate its genetics, and then use it to spy on us.  I mean, why not?  The has amazing sensory organs and we would never suspect it.  Plus, it is possible they have found a way for it to send wireless transmissions back to them in the same way (or in a more advanced way) that we send wireless signals.  I mean, why not?  Plants communicate wirelessly, so there is really no reason why angels (if they exist) couldn't find a way to watch us without us ever knowing.  Or second, it is possible that they are now dormant.  After the 1561 air battle over Nuremburg, its possible that they had enough and stopped interacting with humans.  The next time you are in Zurich, head over the the Central Library and take a look for yourself: https://opac.nebis.ch/F/DVP61TE8XTNEKU6IYQTAMGDU4XCFITRYHVRAD6NNH9RGPHRPHL-05343?func=find-b&amp=&amp=&amp=&amp=&find_code=SYS&request=005289279&local_base=NEBIS&con_lng=GER&pds_handle=GUEST 

The above link shows the broadsheet (newspaper) depicting that 1561 air battle between two factions of angels who were fighting in heaven ("heaven" is the biblical word for "the sky").  Some people tried to explain this battle as a sundog, but I've seen sundogs before, and never have I heard anyone claim that during a sundog little flying circles shoot out of motherships that then fly around attacking each other until one or the other crashes into the ground (you can actually see them crashing in the broadsheet!).  Plus, most sundogs don't end with a star destroyer appearing.  The interesting thing about that black star destroyer was that when I was in the military, I got to see one of those things.  I wasn't supposed to see it, but I did, and so did the rest of my squad.  I am not sure if that ship was built by human hands or not, but one thing I know with certainty: whoever controls that tech will win the next World War.  

Take it for what you will, but the virgin birth is easy to accept, and you don't need any "faith" to do so.  You just need science for that one.  Believing in angels, on the other, requires a bit more than just science.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(edited)

I suppose that one of the reasons that I find it very difficult to believe in the Virgin birth is because it says in the Bible that Mary and Josef set off on a donkey  .........

Having travelled extensively in the Middle East and seen a lot of what goes in in the poorer regions of that geographical area, I am convinced that neither Mary nor the donkey would have remained virgins for more than a couple of hours in the wilderness..

Edited by Eodmatt
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(edited)

As for the historical record of a space ship attack, interestingly there are many such things recorded in ancient texts, paintings and other media. For example, the Bayeux Tapestry records the appearance of Halleys Comet, which was visible in the sky around the date of the Battle of Hastings.

Without going into details I can also say that I have seen some very strange things which I cant explain.

Edited by Eodmatt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 8/15/2018 at 3:11 PM, Mike Marcellus said:

I want to go Jan, but, busting into someones house to rescue someone else has costs.   I want to believe the citizens of Iraq were grateful for our troops, but I just don't think ALL of them were.  And that's where it gets mushy.  I know our intentions are good, doesn't mean they will be received that way.   I believe that is what's happened in the past.

^ +1

On 8/15/2018 at 3:58 PM, Jan van Eck said:

At this point, the US Army is more like the fire department, that house is burning, a "fully involved structure fire," and who has the ability to put out the flames?  Colombia?  Panama? Argentina? Canada? The Germans?  All big "No's."   Here's the reality: it is the Americans, or it is nobody. 

And you can say it is not the time.  That's fine; you might be right

Jan, I really like your idea of US intervention, and I have showed my support of it in previous posts.  However, today I thought of something which you need to be aware of, because I think it could derail your entire plan.  So, please take the following into consideration before forwarding your ideas to the White House.

When I was sent to Iraq in early 2004, our mission was to win hearts and minds.  We went over there and were greeted warmly by the locals.  We made a lot of progress in stabilizing the region.  The locals worked with us to drive out the insurgents, and we made life good for them.  We built schools for their children, protected their families, and killed the terrorists.  All was well, at least for a while.

However, by late 2005, all of the easy targets had been slain, leaving only the most wicked and vile insurgents.  They showed us how easy it is to un-win hearts and minds.  They started following any Iraqi who spoke to us or even waved to us as we drove by.  Then, after we went back to base, they went into to their homes and killed their children with knives in front of the parents.  They left the severed heads of those children on spikes in the parents' own front yard with orders that if the parents removed those heads, they would come and finish off the other half of their kids that they didn't kill the first time.  

It didn't take much of this before no one would even make eye-contact with us.  Even if they didn't speak to us, the mere fact that we tried to speak to them was enough to get their family members tortured and slain.  At that point, the Iraqis just wanted us to leave.  Well, history proved that didn't go as well for them as they hoped, either.  But the point remains: winning hearts and minds is a difficult chore; unwinning them is easy.

So, let's say we stick to your plan. Let's say the US forces show up with food.  Yes, Maduro's men will flee without firing a shot.  The Venezuelan people will rejoice, and they will eat.  The US will easily secure the oil fields, and paying local workers in USD will get those oil fields up and running fast enough with support from experts from various US oil firms.  But then, a few of the men most loyal to Maduro, the ones who were hiding out with him and living off the stolen wealth of Venezuela, would "get jobs at the oil fields" with everyone else, and they would start taking names.  Next, in the middle of the night, while wearing masks, the knives of their buddies would leave a clear enough message for anyone working in those oil fields.  After enough Venezuelan children are butchered, the Venezuelans will just stop showing up for work.  Those who don't have children will lose the very hands they need to do that work.  The key is that the insurgent must remember to leave someone alive to tell the story, but you leave them somehow crippled so they also become a financial burden to those around them.  Eventually, the oil fields will shut down for a lack of workers, and that will be the end of that.  Meanwhile, the insurgency will spend its spare time sniping US soldiers, planting IEDs, and causing all sorts of other expensive problems for the US.  They will hold the Venezuelans at gun point and use them as human shields, but if the US refused to mow down those shields, they will just kill the shields themselves and claim it was US missiles.  They will record footage of the bodies, even if they have to plant those bodies to get that footage, and eventually after many years, the Venezuelans will forget the more distant problems that Maduro caused because they are now only concerned with the more recent problems that are being blamed on the US. 

Now, if you say, "But the Venezuelans are different than the Iraqis."  Well, it is not the Venezuelans I am worried about.  It is the Chinese and Russians who now support Maduro, and who will likely continue to do so, even more so once the US gets involved.  Even if Maduro's regime has been driven underground, they will still support him if it causes problems for the US.  They will support him financially, and even by means sending mercenaries (read: state operatives) to train his soldiers in the art of insurgent warfare, as well as supplying those newly trained insurgents with the arms they need to accomplish that mission.  

So, unfortunately, I think the best plan is to wait until the Venezuelans take out Maduro and his men...all of them.  All connections to China and Russia (every last one of them) must be removed before the US can safely intervene, and those connections must be removed by the Venezuelans, themselves.  This is prevent any insurgency from taking hold, and once that has happened, then the US can sweep in with food and work to get those oil fields running again to return wealth back to the people.  At least in my opinion, I think this would have the highest chance for success.  It would be different if China and Russia weren't involved in supporting Maduro, but they are.  

I may be wrong.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

You people are reading Breitbart News?   For real?  

"You people" ?

Zero Hedge too, it's one of the first general news sites I read every morning... What can I say, I seem to be a bad influence  : )

Maybe try reading tweets by James Woods as well, for a smart hoot - he's one of the very few people I read on Twitter.  His smackdown replies to fools can be pretty amusing.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 8/23/2018 at 10:18 PM, Jan van Eck said:

What troubles me is how Breitbart News and their readers are so jubilant over the suffering and privation of other people, anyone "not white, not like them."  This Breitbart crowd fails any and every possible metric of Christian thought, basically they are the worst rednecks that have effectively dropped out of the human race - and seek to take America down a very dark path.  This is a crowd that seeks to abolish law, abolish the US Constitution, impose suffering on women, put migrant infants and toddlers in cages, impose its narrow views on everybody else, shuns the planet, and revels in the poverty and suffering of others, especially (but not limited to) black Africans, the Sudanese, Haitians, the Middle East, Armenians, Palestinians, Indians, Pakistanis, and now anybody and everybody in South America.  It is a very long list. 

These are not decent people.  You want to stay away from the indecent, before they start to infect your mind. 

Generalize much?

You may wish to have a re-read of what you wrote. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Eodmatt said:

I suppose that one of the reasons that I find it very difficult to believe in the Virgin birth is because it says in the Bible that Mary and Josef set off on a donkey  .........

Having travelled extensively in the Middle East and seen a lot of what goes in in the poorer regions of that geographical area, I am convinced that neither Mary nor the donkey would have remained virgins for more than a couple of hours in the wilderness..

LOL!  I almost choked on and spit out my coffee!  (Note to self: put down any drink when reading Eodmatt's comments.)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Dan Warnick said:

(Note to self: put down any drink when reading Eodmatt's comments.)

He has some great stories to tell (I remember his crazy-dangerous stories and wry comments from the old Oilpro days).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Epic said:

However, by late 2005, all of the easy targets had been slain, leaving only the most wicked and vile insurgents.  They showed us how easy it is to un-win hearts and minds.  They started following any Iraqi who spoke to us or even waved to us as we drove by.  Then, after we went back to base, they went into to their homes and killed their children with knives in front of the parents.  They left the severed heads of those children on spikes in the parents' own front yard with orders that if the parents removed those heads, they would come and finish off the other half of their kids that they didn't kill the first time. 

Graphic details, Epic.  I guess I knew this kind of shxx happened, but I didn't know, did I?  (places head in hands, troubled)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(edited)

9 hours ago, Epic said:

^ +1

Jan, I really like your idea of US intervention, and I have showed my support of it in previous posts.  However, today I thought of something which you need to be aware of, because I think it could derail your entire plan.  So, please take the following into consideration before forwarding your ideas to the White House.

When I was sent to Iraq in early 2004, our mission was to win hearts and minds.  We went over there and were greeted warmly by the locals.  We made a lot of progress in stabilizing the region.  The locals worked with us to drive out the insurgents, and we made life good for them.  We built schools for their children, protected their families, and killed the terrorists.  All was well, at least for a while.

However, by late 2005, all of the easy targets had been slain, leaving only the most wicked and vile insurgents.  They showed us how easy it is to un-win hearts and minds.  They started following any Iraqi who spoke to us or even waved to us as we drove by.  Then, after we went back to base, they went into to their homes and killed their children with knives in front of the parents.  They left the severed heads of those children on spikes in the parents' own front yard with orders that if the parents removed those heads, they would come and finish off the other half of their kids that they didn't kill the first time.  

It didn't take much of this before no one would even make eye-contact with us.  Even if they didn't speak to us, the mere fact that we tried to speak to them was enough to get their family members tortured and slain.  At that point, the Iraqis just wanted us to leave.  Well, history proved that didn't go as well for them as they hoped, either.  But the point remains: winning hearts and minds is a difficult chore; unwinning them is easy.

So, let's say we stick to your plan. Let's say the US forces show up with food.  Yes, Maduro's men will flee without firing a shot.  The Venezuelan people will rejoice, and they will eat.  The US will easily secure the oil fields, and paying local workers in USD will get those oil fields up and running fast enough with support from experts from various US oil firms.  But then, a few of the men most loyal to Maduro, the ones who were hiding out with him and living off the stolen wealth of Venezuela, would "get jobs at the oil fields" with everyone else, and they would start taking names.  Next, in the middle of the night, while wearing masks, the knives of their buddies would leave a clear enough message for anyone working in those oil fields.  After enough Venezuelan children are butchered, the Venezuelans will just stop showing up for work.  Those who don't have children will lose the very hands they need to do that work.  The key is that the insurgent must remember to leave someone alive to tell the story, but you leave them somehow crippled so they also become a financial burden to those around them.  Eventually, the oil fields will shut down for a lack of workers, and that will be the end of that.  Meanwhile, the insurgency will spend its spare time sniping US soldiers, planting IEDs, and causing all sorts of other expensive problems for the US.  They will hold the Venezuelans at gun point and use them as human shields, but if the US refused to mow down those shields, they will just kill the shields themselves and claim it was US missiles.  They will record footage of the bodies, even if they have to plant those bodies to get that footage, and eventually after many years, the Venezuelans will forget the more distant problems that Maduro caused because they are now only concerned with the more recent problems that are being blamed on the US. 

Now, if you say, "But the Venezuelans are different than the Iraqis."  Well, it is not the Venezuelans I am worried about.  It is the Chinese and Russians who now support Maduro, and who will likely continue to do so, even more so once the US gets involved.  Even if Maduro's regime has been driven underground, they will still support him if it causes problems for the US.  They will support him financially, and even by means sending mercenaries (read: state operatives) to train his soldiers in the art of insurgent warfare, as well as supplying those newly trained insurgents with the arms they need to accomplish that mission.  

So, unfortunately, I think the best plan is to wait until the Venezuelans take out Maduro and his men...all of them.  All connections to China and Russia (every last one of them) must be removed before the US can safely intervene, and those connections must be removed by the Venezuelans, themselves.  This is prevent any insurgency from taking hold, and once that has happened, then the US can sweep in with food and work to get those oil fields running again to return wealth back to the people.  At least in my opinion, I think this would have the highest chance for success.  It would be different if China and Russia weren't involved in supporting Maduro, but they are.  

I may be wrong.  

Epic, there is a lot of truth in your piece above. But you omit one vital piece of the puzzle - Religion. In the M/E there has always been religious strife and in Iraq, Hussein kept control with an iron hand. His faction was top dog and he kept it that way. Any dissent was ruthlessly put down.

In Afghanistan, the factionisation is even worse since it involves not only religious factions but tribe against tribe and family against family. In fact during the British adventures in Afghastlystan a century or so ago, it was noted that even within family feuds, brothers had no compunction about killing brothers, uncles fathers children, whatever. 

One if the guys I worked with during my most recent stay in that country is a former Mujahideen rocket (RPG 7) grenade operator, who had fought in Iraq. Although he now works for the Afghan government he still tried to convert me to "the perfect religion".

And right now there is a melting pot of Muslim factions in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, all fighting religious wars, family feuds and tribal conflicts. Each faction willing to out do the others in terms of atrocities committed.

The big difference in Venezuela is that the majority of the inhabitants are Christian - 70% Catholic / 28% Protestant. Thats not to say that Christian factions dont commit atrocities - Cyprus during the British occupation springs to mind as well as Northern Ireland and some other places more recently. But in Venezuela there isn't the centuries old tribal, ethnic and religious hatred that exists in the M/E (and there isn't Iran and Saudi stirring the pot either). Moreover, whilst in the M/E generally there is a creed of hospitality and assistance to strangers there is also a deep seated hatred of foreign invaders.

One of the things I saw in Afghastlystan ten years or so ago, when I was an EOD consultant to the EU for assessing demining intervention programs there, was that the foreign military (US UK etc) came in, pacified an area and then left, leaving a vacuum behind. Into which the Mujahideen swiftly re entered. The population had no choice but to accept their authority. What was missing was stabilisation and long term support. If the population can support themselves with food education and so on they are less likely to allow the terrorists back in. But such stabilisation takes a long time and needs more than short term military operations.

One of the things that might have gone a long way to stopping the almost inexorable rise of terrorism in Afgh would have been to secure the border with Pakistan. Too difficult was the cry; too expensive; too wasteful of manpower and assets. So the attempts of external nations to pacify Afghanistan have failed. Yet Mr. Trump talks about building a wall between the US and Mexico......

Definition of humanitarian aid: The primary purpose of humanitarian aid is to save lives, reduce suffering and maintain respect for human dignity. Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crises including natural disasters and man-made disaster.

Something that I saw on my recent trip to Afgh was that some fairly substantial areas that had been cleared of landmines - at great cost to the international community - ostensibly so that the villages there could grow food crops and animal fodder and become self sustaining in food production, were in fact growing no food. And they hadn't done so during the five years since the clearance had been completed. And yet, when I checked the reasons for the clearance, all the boxes were ticked: Poor population - check. Starving women and children - check. No grazing for goats and sheep - check. A population of x thousand beneficiaries - check.

But no crops were being grown. 

So what was wrong? I did some research by going to meet the local chiefs and discovered that what was wrong was that the villages had no f*cking water apart from a well for drinking water. So no crops could be grown and no animals could be kept. And the donors who had donated the money for the landmine and UXO clearance had audited the project on the basis of ticks in boxes and not in terms of real results.

But Venezuela isn'ta Muslim country, it isnt largely desert. It doesn't have a history of continuing centuries old internecine religious, tribal and family warfare and it is unlikely to be infiltrated by factions from adjoining countries with the intention of destabilising the country to the point of being able to take it over and install a radical secular (and in the case of Venezuela and Islam) an alien (to the population) government.

Having said all that you are right to be concerned about the Chinese and/or the Russians. But in each case the hearts and minds will be won by the interventionist who can show the best consistent long term support which allows actual improvements in peoples lives  - and provide them with a stable government. 

Russia tried in Afghanistan and failed having paid a high price in blood. They also tried in Mozambique, Angola, Somalia and Vietnam (to an extent) and failed. As for China, do they have the resources? They are building up their military and spending massively in increasing their influence in the Far East, I think that Veheziala may be a step too far for them .

But Venezuela is pretty much on the US doorstep. It  is awash with natural resources such as diamonds, bauxite, gold, iron ore, natural gas and oil. The GDP was nearly 400 billion in 2011.

Compared to Afghanistan it looks to me like a place that needs a spot of decent management and some fiscal control after which it could actually be an asset.

 

Edited by Eodmatt
  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Eodmatt said:

Epic, there is a lot of truth in your piece above. But you omit one vital piece of the puzzle - Religion.

Hi Eodmatt!  I agree with everything you say, except only that religion is not the problem.  There are plenty of good Muslims in the world.  The problem with the Middle East, however, is not a religious problem, it is a people problem (as you mentioned: no qualms about brothers killing brothers).  That kind of people turn the Islamic Religion into Radial Islamic Terrorism.  Yes, there are many differences between the Middle Eastern religions and Venezuelan religions, but the important similarity between the two is that they both involve people, and where there are people (specifically: that kind of people), there are problems.  My concern is that the people who currently have power in Venezuela are, in fact, that kind of people after all.  In response to US intervention, and in a desperate attempt to cling to their remaining power, they will turn their failing socialistic state into a state of Radial Socialistic Terrorism.  Your post seems to suggest that the leaders in Venezuela would not be willing to commit the same type of atrocities as the people in the Middle East have commited, to which I respond: look at the atrocities they are already committing, and the US hasn't even intervened yet!  Add the US to he mix (Maduro does NOT look kindly on the US), and Radial Socialistic Terrorism is likely to be the next step.  Moreover, with the "support" of the Chinese and Russians, I believe they will take that step, whether they want to or not.  

After all, if the US can turn Venezuela (with all its resources) into an staunch ally like the Saudis, then there will be no usurping US domination for the next several decades.  Neither China nor Russia is willing to allow that, at least not uncontested.  They will respond by sending agents to help establish Radial Socialistic Terrorism...of that there is no question.  The only question is how effective their insurgency will be. 

Although I support US intervention, I do not support US intervention without first counting the costs.  My concern is that the costs are still too high at this point.  It 'may' be best to wait for Maduro's assassination, and then see who seizes power.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the CIA don't already have a guy picked out for that...

...but so do the Chinese and the Russians.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(edited)

Interesting points and I agree with most, however we have to agree to disagree with some points about religion.

To begin I didn't say that religion was a problem in Venezuela. I said that religion was not a problem in Venezuela.  Also I have not made any comment about Islam being either good or bad. And yes, most Muslims are decent people. There is however one small point and that is that many Muslims will ignore atrocities carried out in the name of their religion, simply by shrugging and saying, "Insha Allah" - It is the will of God.

Wherever there is poverty, religion is there. In some cases it does a reasonable job of supporting people through bad times. But then there are the fanatics. Like the Spanish inquisition*

And Daesh, Mujahideen, Taliban and others.

And you cant deny religion as a major factor and obstacle to peaceful development in places like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan etc., simply by saying that there is good and bad in all religions. To do that is to skate of over the truth using skates made of political correctness. The fact is that we have to grasp the nettle of reality and consider that in some cases and places, religion as it is applied, is a negative force. This is not because religion is intrinsically bad, but it is perverted by people, to the detriment of other people, for "the benefit" of the perverters - and that is a fact that cant be ignored.

Taking Iran as an example (because I lived there for a while): Hanging people in the streets for being gay is acceptable? Not in any civilised society I would say. It is really about demonstrating to the people in the street that the State is all powerful and has the power of life and death over you.

Blowing yourself up with explosives in order to kill other people because some one told you that your God says that it is a good thing to do? Not my cup of tea. In fact I object to it. Telling a plant operator to drive his massive grading machine into a known minefield (against my advice) because "Insha Allah" it will be OK. It wasn't OK and the grader was destroyed and the operator was killed. Ah well........

I worked in Iran for Sinopec, the Chinese oil corporation. By and large the Chinese guys took my advice and we lost no international staff. The Iranian contractors however, told me that "If I was afraid, I should go home to my mother, as Insha aAllah, they would all be OK". They had several people killed.

In Afghanistan, where I was for a couple of months last year - and previously, well, I will let the news headlines speak for themselves:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/afghanistan-blasts-rock-kabul-casualties-feared-180509075352983.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/30/kabul-explosions-hit-city-centre-attack

And here is a list of terror attacks in Kabul: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_attacks_in_Kabul

And all in the name of religion.

In the US, Canada, UK, Europe and many other places citizens are free to go about their business and follow whatever religion they feel drawn to. But we draw the line at allowing terrorism, murder, torture. That is not to say that things have been different in the past. But by and large we have developed away from religion by force. Radical Islam has not. 

And below is a pic of the drivers window of my car whilst I was in Mazar I Sharif. Note the bullet hole. Why did they shoot at the car? because it was an Infidels car and, "Allah says" they must kill the infidel.

So we must be thankful that such things are unlikely to occur in Venezuela as a result of religious fanaticism.

As for religion being about people, yes thats a fact. But in the countries that I have highlighted - and a few more that I haven't highlighted, fundamentalist Islamic fanatics are not interested in liberal arguments, they are interested in killing you. It is their duty to kill you. Why? Because you are not of their kind. Therefore they are told by their religious leaders that their God has decided that you must be killed. And sometimes tortured first. And if they don't kill you when they have the chance it is possible that their children will be killed as punishment. Or that they themselves will be killed.

I dont think that the people in Venezuela are "that kind of people". I don't think that they are driven by the kind of religious fanaticism, hatred for others and disregard for human life that has been instilled into some people in Afghanistan and elsewhere since they were old enough to talk and listen. 

I think that in Venezuela the problem is something that we can understand with ease and something that is a lot easier to deal with. It seems to me that the problem there is one of power, greed and corruption, rather than an ingrained hatred of others fomented by more than a century of tribal and religious fanaticism.

And I'll go a step further: If a country with the resources, intellect and technical ability to reach the moon and walk on it cant deal with a small countries problems like Venezuela - a country which, unlike Afghanistan could easily be self supporting and prosperous, then I'll eat my own Ebinger Fluxgate Magnex LW 120 bomb detection magnetometer with a mayonnaise dressing.

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope. Our four...no... Amongst our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."

And because I was once a Catholic: Bless you!

0-02-05-94f9ad6dde579613325f2acd73bd94f36ee2e6b9965dda578b946318fedd33de_full.jpg

Edited by Eodmatt
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, Eodmatt said:

This is not because religion is intrinsically bad, but it is perverted by people, to the detriment of other people, for "the benefit" of the perverters

I think you and I are not as far from agreement as you might think.  You will have to correct me if I am wrong, but from your post, I gather you are implying that Radicalized Islam makes it easier to turn the average Muslim into an insurgent murderer.  Either that, or you are suggesting the entire Middle-eastern culture (with their brother-on-brother willingness to murder) makes it easier for them to accept and then perform those atrocities, neither of which would apply to the average Venezuelan. 

I agree with you on both cases.  

What I want to clarify is that I seek to avoid blaming their religion for their willingness to commit atrocities.  Blaming religion for atrocity is like blaming guns for gun-violence.  Correlation does not imply causation.  The gun is simply a tool used by the murderer, which can (and often does) make his job easier.  Likewise, Islam, in the hands of a terrorist, is a tool used by the terrorist to make his job of brainwashing new insurgents that much easier.  But one does not need a gun to be a murderer, and likewise, one does not need Islam to establish an effective insurgency. 

I believe Maduro (read: Russia and China) could run an effective insurgency even without Islam to support that insurgency.

The question is: do you believe the Russian GRU and the Chinese MSS could establish an effective insurgency in Venezuela?  If no, then Jan's plan is a 'go.'  If yes, then his ideas currently lack the needed contingency plans to counter Russian and Chinese interference.  

Take that for what you will ;) 

PS: you were right about the donkey

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Religion can be quite a sacred cow, or an elephant in the room.  Not something that can be poked lightly.  But hey, it's the weekend... 

dd73956a49d715d4b589cee3adcc3c5421ccbec9c8dff295514af1e56ad5660e.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Epic said:

I think you and I are not as far from agreement as you might think.  You will have to correct me if I am wrong, but from your post, I gather you are implying that Radicalized Islam makes it easier to turn the average Muslim into an insurgent murderer.  Either that, or you are suggesting the entire Middle-eastern culture (with their brother-on-brother willingness to murder) makes it easier for them to accept and then perform those atrocities, neither of which would apply to the average Venezuelan. 

I agree with you on both cases.  

What I want to clarify is that I seek to avoid blaming their religion for their willingness to commit atrocities.  Blaming religion for atrocity is like blaming guns for gun-violence.  Correlation does not imply causation.  The gun is simply a tool used by the murderer, which can (and often does) make his job easier.  Likewise, Islam, in the hands of a terrorist, is a tool used by the terrorist to make his job of brainwashing new insurgents that much easier.  But one does not need a gun to be a murderer, and likewise, one does not need Islam to establish an effective insurgency. 

I believe Maduro (read: Russia and China) could run an effective insurgency even without Islam to support that insurgency.

The question is: do you believe the Russian GRU and the Chinese MSS could establish an effective insurgency in Venezuela?  If no, then Jan's plan is a 'go.'  If yes, then his ideas currently lack the needed contingency plans to counter Russian and Chinese interference.  

Take that for what you will ;) 

PS: you were right about the donkey

I think that both the GRU and the MSS could do just that. But I have to ask myself (and you) why would they? What would be their driving motivation for doing so? I can see that they would do so for material gain if there were no interventionist opposition. But the sweeties in the jar depend for their attractiveness not only flavour, but also ease of acquisition. If the the attractions of Venezuela became less available than that of low hanging fruit, would that country be such an attractive target for either of them? Its one thing gaining some influence in a country through the cupidity of a handful off individuals there and quite another matter competing for that influence with an entity that has more than just short term gains in mind. Bearing in mind of course that Russia has so far failed in many countries, whilst the Chinese are somewhat of an unknown

We can discard the discussion about Islam now since we are broadly in agreement. Although I do think that not recognising that religion has to shoulder its share of the blame in spite of the fact that we recognise that if there were no people there could be no religion, is a bit naive. The difference between an islamic insurgence and your average thuggery is a difference between centuries of indoctrination and deliberately inculcated hatred which is endemic over quite a significant area of the world - and simply modern greed (which is also endemic) but which isn't tased on centuries of indoctrination and religious fervour, and is discrete. Of course to the lower level individuals involved, there is the matter of survival.

However as has been shown in quite a few places greed based nastiness tends to dissipate when the greed centric cause is removed from the ointment. Not so much for the religious fundamentalist who may go and live in the desert and continue gathering the simple minded, the ill educated and the socially inadequate to support them in the name of the .......... whatever.... spaghetti monster etc.

PS. I was told in Afghastlystan that it's the donkeys own fault. If they didn't go out of their way to look so damn sexy...

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Religion can be quite a sacred cow, or an elephant in the room.  Not something that can be poked lightly.  But hey, it's the weekend... 

dd73956a49d715d4b589cee3adcc3c5421ccbec9c8dff295514af1e56ad5660e.jpg

Well as I said recently, when I was a kid and being brought up as a Cafflik, I asked the Priest how whatsisname turned water into wine and made loaves and fishes out of bugger all - oh and then theres the virgin birth. His response was that "you just have to believe".

So when I watched a physics video on youtube (makes a change from watching naked yoga)* and the physicist said "we don't know why or how photons and such can be in two places at once, you just have to accept it" .... I thought.... Bugger!

Oh and by the way, the latest physics thinking is that mass is just strings of energy (google eyed smiley).

*Own up. How many of you searched for naked yoga on youtube after reading that?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites