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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Syria of South America?

Here we go.  Yesterday, an IED was used in Caracas, Venezuela to attack a crowd in that city.  It's unclear if the device was set by pro or anti government supporters.  The key thing is that terrorist explosions have now made their presence felt in Venezuela.

It's hard to imagine the situation in that country.  Venezuela is oil rich, relatively well educated, and with a history of sustained prosperity.  Still, after more than a decade of Cuban style socialism under Chavez and Maduro, the country is impoverished, starving, and generally in chaos.  Literally millions of people are out of work or otherwise unable to feed their families.  The oil industry has decayed to a point where it will not support the cash needs of the government.  Meanwhile, the leaders of the government are amassing huge fortunes on tiny salaries.  International companies either have pulled out of Venezuela or have cut back on activities there and are about to leave.  Political chaos has also come.  When the opposition won control of the legislature, Maduro simply shut down the legislative branch of the government.  There was just a referendum held to let Maduro replace the legislature with a new body.  Maduro won the vote, but the consensus is that the entire election results were a sham.  There is constant opposition in the streets.  So far, the military has sided with Maduro.  As a result, there have been arrests of opposition leaders, deaths at rallies and now, IEDs.

President Obama watched as Syria melted down into civil war.  In the early days of that conflict when the USA could have tipped the scales to get rid of Assad, Obama did nothing.  The result has been half a million dead, more wounded, millions of refugees and the creation of a failed state in Syria.  President Trump now has a similar situation brewing in Venezuela.  He needs to take action right now.  At a minimum, the USA should cut off oil imports from Venezuela.  That would collapse the remaining foundation of the Maduro regime.  The President cannot just watch as a country in our own hemisphere disintegrates.

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