Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

GUESTS:  Fausta Rodriguez Wertz, editor of Fausta’s Blog, joins me for a discussion of the latest US-Latin America stories……….we will also hear from Luisa Ravelo-Guedes, a Venezuelan national who lives in Texas….click here for the show:

A Venezuela update with Fausta Wertz & Luisa Ravelo

We spoke about Venezuela with Fausta Wertz, editor of Fausta’s Blog, & Luisa Ravelo, coordinator of RECIVEX- REsistencia CIvil de Venezolanos en elEXterior (Civil Resistance of Venezuelans Abroad) Dallas Chapter.



The House’s Dirty 14 Who Opposed Sanctions On Venezuela – Revealed

For some reason, the media have been reticent about who the 14 members of Congress were who opposed sanctions on Venezuela’s castroite Chavista regime. They passed, by a wimpy voice vote, but a letter shows that there were 14 members of the House on record as opposing them.

The House sanctions in question weren’t the good kind, the kind that really bite down hard on the Chavista cash stream, as would happen if the U.S. were to cut off Venezuelan oil and freeze all Venezuelan assets in the U.S. No, they were the mild kind, targeted only at particular Chavista thugs who sought visas for Disneyworld and Miami shopping trips, after a hard day beating dissidents and gassing neighborhoods in Caraccas. That’s all that was on the line – and incredibly, 14 members of Congress opposed even that.

Of course it was a vile position to take – which is why it was a creepy thing to see the mainstream media leave off the names of the 14 on their reports, save for John Conyers, who were against these sanctions. Why leave the names off?

Have been looking for two days for these names, because with such an unpopular position, it’s pretty obvious that Favors Were Called and certain members of the House didn’t particularly want their voters to know it.

Sure enough, that’s what it looks like, now that the letter is out. The International Herald Tribune found it, and posted it, and, for good measure, noted that quite a few of these signatories had been to Cuba.

We now know who has their marching orders.

“Dialogo” without holding Maduro accountable for the deaths is wrong

(This is my new American Thinker post about Venezuela)

There are talks underway in Venezuela, as reported by The Washington Post:

“Venezuelan opposition leaders began a late-night meeting with President Nicolás Maduro and his cabinet Thursday in a possible first step toward ending two months of anti-government protests and street clashes that have left at least 41 dead.

The meeting was broadcast live on Venezuelan television and radio, at the insistence of the opposition, and was attended by mediators from Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and the Vatican. The representative of the Holy See in Venezuela, Aldo Giordano, opened the meeting by reading a written statement from Pope Francis urging both sides to put aside differences and summon the courage to reach an agreement.

Maduro followed, speaking for more than half an hour, and insisted that the encounter was a “dialogue,” not a negotiation. “I’m willing to debate all of the country’s problems,” he said. “But we need to join together in condemning violence as a way to force political change.”

With 11 members of the opposition and 11 members from the government side scheduled to speak, it appeared likely that the meeting would stretch well past midnight. Both sides indicated that future meetings would be required to work out the biggest sticking points between the two sides, especially the fate of jailed protesters. Henrique Capriles, the opposition standard-bearer who narrowly lost to Maduro in last April’s president election, was the most prominent figure on the anti-­government side.

While the encounter allowed opposition leaders an unusually open platform to speak directly to a national audience and the president himself, it was also notable for the absence of the opposition’s more hard-line anti-Maduro wing.

That’s the branch that has been in the streets battling national guardsmen and blocking traffic with flaming barricades, and it may be unwilling to heed any agreements that emerge from the talks with Maduro.

María Corina Machado, the congresswoman who has emerged as the most prominent opposition voice in recent weeks after the arrest of fellow anti-Maduro hard-liner Leopoldo ­López, boycotted the event, saying no meeting with the president should be occurring while protesters and opposition leaders remain in jail.”

I’m OK with a dialogue but the opposition should demand several things:

1) Who will be held responsible for the deaths?  43 people are dead and that is unacceptable.  Who gave the order to shoot people peacefully protesting?

2) When will the government allow a free press and media?  It’s a shame that the world has learned about the atrocities from the people on the streets using social media.  Venezuela must restore the vibrant media that it had years ago.

There are probably other issues but those are my two starting points.

The Maduro administration has lots of blood in its hands and it’s time to demand explanations.

P. S. You can hear my chat with Mr Cazorla in Venezuela here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.


The NYTimes should have spoken with the bishops before publishing Maduro’s Op Ed

My American Thinker post about The New York Times, President Maduro’s Op-ed & the bishops in Caracas.

In 48 hours, we’ve seen two rather different assessments of the situation in Venezuela.

First, The NY Times opened its editorial page to President Maduro by publishing “A call for peace.”  As I posted yesterday at Babalu, this op-ed is so embarrassing that everyone at The NY Times should be ashamed of themselves.

We like a debate of ideas but President Maduro did not tell the truth, especially about the daily attacks on demonstrators in Caracas and elsewhere or the way that legislator Maria Corina Machado has been treated:

“Last night, Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal said that, indeed, Maria Corina Machado’s expulsion from the National Assembly could stand.

On its own, this shouldn’t seem so shocking – chavismo has created a habit of kicking people out of Parliament, out of city hall, and out of politics altogether. ”

Miss Machado’s “crime against the state” was trying to speak before the OAS about Venezuela.  My question is this:  Where does it say in the Venezuelan constitution that a legislator can not go to the OAS and speak his or her mind?

Second, the bishops in Caracas are concerned about the totalitarian nature of Maduro’s government, as reported in The Washington Post:

“Venezuela’s organization of Roman Catholic bishops is accusing the government of seeking totalitarian-style rule, comments that potentially could complicate the Vatican’s offer to facilitate talks between the socialist government and its opposition.

The Conference of Venezuelan Bishops is calling on President Nicolas Maduro to halt his crackdown on critics who have been protesting in the streets for seven weeks. The conference president is Bishop Diego Padron. Speaking in Caracas on Wednesday, he accused Maduro of attempting to criminalize dissent.

The statement comes a few days after the Vatican said it was willing to facilitate talks between the two sides. Maduro indicated he would accept such talks, but the position of the various groups that constitute the opposition remains unclear.

The bishops association has periodically criticized the Venezuelan government.”

God bless the Bishops for their warnings about repression in Venezuela. Shame on The NY Times for refusing “to edit” the words of a man responsible for the death of 39 Venezuelans, including a young pregnant woman.

Maybe everyone at The NY Times should take a night off and go to “confession”!

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.


The New York Times should be embarrassed for printing Maduro’s op-ed

Let’s file this one under the “no tiene nombre” category.  We’ve seen The New York Times print a lot of weird things over the years but this one is beyond belief.

Today, The NY Times published an op-ed by Mr Nicolas Maduro and it’s embarrassing.

Here are a couple of samples:

1) The post is titled “A Call for Peace”.   This is from the man behind attacks on demonstrators!  Are you kidding me?

2) This is how Mr Maduro sees Venezuela:

“THE recent protests in Venezuela have made international headlines. Much of the foreign media coverage has distorted the reality of my country and the facts surrounding the events.

Venezuelans are proud of our democracy. We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people.”

3) This is how Mr Maduro sees the economy:

“According to the United Nations, Venezuela has consistently reduced inequality: It now has the lowest income inequality in the region. We havereduced poverty enormously — to 25.4 percent in 2012, on the World Bank’sdata, from 49 percent in 1998; in the same period, according to government statistics, extreme poverty diminished to 6 percent from 21 percent.

We have created flagship universal health care and education programs, free to our citizens nationwide. We have achieved these feats in large part by using revenue from Venezuelan oil.

While our social policies have improved citizens’ lives over all, the government has also confronted serious economic challenges in the past 16 months, including inflation and shortages of basic goods. We continue to find solutions through measures like our new market-based foreign exchange system, which is designed to reduce the black market exchange rate. And we are monitoring businesses to ensure they are not gouging consumers or hoarding products. Venezuela has also struggled with a high crime rate. We are addressing this by building a new national police force, strengthening community-police cooperation and revamping our prison system.’

Outrageous is not outrageous enough.

This is journalistic malpractice by The New York Times.

I am not suggesting censorship.  I am simply calling on The New York Times to be responsible and hold “despots” like Maduro accountable for what they write.  Is that too much to ask?

“Los jovenes” are the face of the anti-Maduro movement

My new American Thinker post about young people and Venezuela:

“Over the last month, I’ve seen pictures and videos about the demonstrations in Venezuela.  I am really impressed by the young people, from students to professionals to parents with small children.

Just saw the story of Juan Requesens, a student who is the middle of the uprising in Caracas.

Juan is 24 and the focus of a recent story by The Washington Post:

“After nearly a month of anti-government protests and street clashes, the one figure who may be capable of guiding Venezuela out of its crisis is a bearded, disheveled 24-year-old who lives with his parents.

Juan Requesens, a student leader, has leapt in recent weeks from campus politics to the swirling center of Venezuela’s worst unrest in a decade. A talent for public speaking has driven his rise, but perhaps just as appealing is that he is not one of the well-established opposition politicians Venezuelans already know.

In the past week, President Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly invited him to “peace” talks, but Requesens refuses, insisting that Maduro free jailed protesters and meet other preconditions first. Venezuela’s interior minister is publicly pressuring Requesens to go to the western state of Tachira, where the protests first erupted and barricades are blocking deliveries of food, to get students there to stand down.

Even opposition politicians have begun deferring to Requesens, saying they, too, will not meet with Maduro until the students go first.”

What drives young people like Juan?  After all, Juan was born in the early days of Chavizmo.  He does not remember the pre-Chavez days.  He has spent his entire life living in the Venezuela that Chavez’ policies created.

Why the disconnect with Chavez or Maduro?  Why are the children of the revolution turning against the revolution?

The answer is freedom and the economic shortages now a daily grind all over the nation.

Check out the faces of demonstrators in Caracas.  You will see lots of young people like Juan!  It makes me optimistic that the young are not buying the class warfare and crony capitalism that Chavez left Venezuela with.”