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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Is Venezuela The Next Syria?

The Syrian civil war began when the president of Syria, Bashir al Assad decided that the best way to deal with street protests was to send snipers to shoot some of the marchers as they moved through the streets of Damascus.  Syrian troops under Assad's control shot down innocent people who were doing nothing more than voicing their opinion that Assad had to go.  The violence spiraled in a short time into a full scale civil war.  Events in Venezuela are starting to move in much the same direction.  Tens of thousands of starving Venezuelans have been marching in the streets of Caracas and other cities trying to end the dictatorial rule of Maduro.  Maduro's policies have been such failures that the richest country in South America can no longer even feed its people.  The Venezuelan economy lies in ruins.  There has been violence, but there has now been a major escalation.

A protest was scheduled in Caracas in front of a government controlled TV network which has been denouncing the protesters as fascists and describing Maduro as a benevolent and effective leader.  In other words, it's all propaganda for the government.  When the protesters reached the building housing the TV network, they were met by tanks, soldiers and snipers on the nearby roof tops.  One false move could have ignited a massacre followed by a civil war.  This scene is sure to be repeated in the coming weeks.  Hopefully, someone in the military will realize that Maduro needs to go and topple him with a military coup.  That may sound wrong to those of you who respect the rule of law, but Maduro has already usurped all power by using force to remove all authority from the Venezuelan national legislature.  Maduro is now an extra-constitutional dictator.  It would be appropriate for the military to give him the boot and to restore some sort of order to the country and its economy.  Failure to do this will result in tens of thousands of deaths from starvation (or more.)  The estimates are that the average Venezuelan has already lost 17 pounds due to food shortages.  That statistic might be looked at favorably in Beverly Hills, but in the real world it means that a great many people are getting close to starving to death.

When Syria melted down into civil war, president Obama chose to ignore the situation.  As a result, we ended up watching Syria turn into a failed state in which ISIS, al Qaeda, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah all have major footholds.  Another failed state in the Middle East is bad.  Having a failed state here in the Western hemisphere would be catastrophic.  We cannot allow terrorists to gain a foothold in South America where they could easily team up with the drug cartels.  This is another problem for the Trump administration.  Hopefully, President Trump will not follow the standard "ostrich" policy of the Obama years.  The USA cannot put its head in the sand.

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