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Mon Nov 25, 2013, 01:27 PM

Venezuelan gov't has been using "decree powers" for half a century!

Some interesting remarks by Claudio Salerna, the lead climate negotiator for Venezuela at the U.N. climate summit (COP 19) in Warsaw. The interview is mostly about the walkout of virtually all developing countries at the climate summit, to protest the developed nations' refusal to address climate change with any seriousness as to emissions controls or compensation to those who are NOT contributing to climate change but who are being battered by it (an issue called "loss and damage", such as the Philippines, recently.

Amy Goodman then asks this:

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you something that just happened in your country while you’re here in Warsaw, Poland, at the U.N. climate summit. Lawmakers, the Venezuelan Congress, has just granted President Maduro the ability to rule by decree for the next year. This has alarmed many inside and outside Venezuela. That means he doesn’t need congressional assent.

CLAUDIA SALERNO: It’s not the first time that happened in Venezuela. Venezuela has a long tradition of, what it is called, I believe, habilitative laws to previous presidents, when you have certain circumstances that needs special handling of—or more rapidity in the way decisions are made. We have the majority in the Congress, so, in principle, it would not be a problem for us as politicians to get whatever law we want in the Congress, because we have the majority. But it’s a special needs that the particular economical situation we are having that needs actually more speed-up actions in certain specific rule. It’s not an open law. It’s actually driven to stop corrupcy and to fight—

AMY GOODMAN: Corruption.

CLAUDIA SALERNO: —strongly against corruption, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Since you were talking about democracy, when it comes to the social movements directing the ministers, especially if you have the majority in the Congress, why he would need these extra powers? Even though, I understand, President Chávez ruled by decree a number of times during his terms.

CLAUDIA SALERNO: And previous presidents, as well, in different moments, since the '50s, I think. It was the first habilitative law that came upon. In principle, he didn't need it. But we need to fight rapidly against that, because the situation is quite critical. And the president is ready to go and to make justice in whoever is doing the wrong things. So he didn’t want it to be in a situation in which, for example, certain—even part of our own process were going to try to protect themselves in their own roles as—in different political situations. So, president is really, really determined to fight against whoever falls, he said—needs to fall. He will not be flexible in that.

Found at: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10179
(my emphasis)

This is what the corpo-fascist news monopolies and their rightwing echo chamber here DON'T tell you about "enabling laws" or "rule by decree." It is a COMMON PRACTICE in Venezuela, and has been for many decades, for the National Assembly--an ELECTED body-- to VOTE certain time-limited and issue-limited powers to the president, to address some immediate need or crisis. For instance, Chavez was granted decree powers to deal with catastrophic floods that buried a whole town.

In addition--not mentioned in this interview--"decree powers" are used similarly in OTHER Latin American countries. For instance, the president of Brazil used "rule by decree" to preserve an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.

It is such shit that this is evidence of tyranny! It is NORMAL governance in these countries. And both countries are very democratic.

The practice of legislatures granting limited "powers of decree" is somewhat similar to "declarations of emergency" by state governors in the U.S.--situations which require flexibility as to moving funds or activating agencies--though this process is used to deal with more issues in LatAm than natural disasters.

The problem that the National Assembly asked Maduro to address is economic sabotage by rightwing/fascist businessmen and corruption of several kinds, including internal corruption by chavistas. Salerno's difficulties with English (or the translator's--not sure which) make this point difficult to suss out, in the interview. But basically, as I understand her, she's saying that "heads are going to roll" and Maduro is going to show no favoritism to chavistas, on corruption issues.

This is a GOOD THING, it seems to me. Maduro has started off by putting a cap on prices of imported goods, to begin controlling inflation. We'll see how this and other measures work out. My point is that "rule by decree" is LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL and VOTED ON, and it is LIMITED as to time and project or issue, in Venezuela and other LatAm countries. There is nothing unusual about it and it is NOT "dictatorial."

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Reply Venezuelan gov't has been using "decree powers" for half a century! (Original post)
Peace Patriot Nov 2013 OP
Mika Nov 2013 #1
Bacchus4.0 Nov 2013 #2
dipsydoodle Nov 2013 #3
Judi Lynn Nov 2013 #17
Zorro Nov 2013 #4
freshwest Nov 2013 #5
Judi Lynn Nov 2013 #6
Bacchus4.0 Nov 2013 #10
spanza Nov 2013 #11
spanza Nov 2013 #7
Bacchus4.0 Nov 2013 #9
freshwest Nov 2013 #24
joshcryer Nov 2013 #18
spanza Nov 2013 #8
joshcryer Nov 2013 #19
Benton D Struckcheon Nov 2013 #12
freshwest Nov 2013 #22
Judi Lynn Nov 2013 #23
MinM Nov 2013 #13
Flatulo Nov 2013 #14
Paolo123 Nov 2013 #15
Flatulo Nov 2013 #16
joshcryer Nov 2013 #20
Paolo123 Nov 2013 #21
Socialistlemur Nov 2013 #25

Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 01:32 PM

1. As predicted ... Chavez rules as dicktater fer life!


Oh ... wait ...


Thanks for posting this.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 01:37 PM

2. is it common for the legislature to expel a member of that body just so they can have enough

votes to grant the president dictatorial powers? If he really wants to fight corruption he should resign, the chavistas should resign and go to Cuba and Venezuela will be a better place for it.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 01:39 PM

3. Yes but complaining about the situation there

does keep some here happy as maybe gauged by previous posts on the subject.

Thanks for posting.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 04:14 PM

17. It seems they never intend to stop trying to get the last word on it.

Could be their meager incomes depend on getting the last word.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 10:59 PM

4. Nothing unusual? NOT "dictatorial"?

...“They have given me an iron fist,” he declared after the National Assembly approved the decree powers. “What you have seen is nothing compared to what I’m going to do...”


Guess he's just your typical iron-fisted democracy lover.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 01:48 AM

5. The term 'decree' is being used for dramatic effect. It's just an executive order, IMHO.

Last edited Fri Nov 29, 2013, 12:56 PM - Edit history (1)

Are Obama's EO's decrees?

I think not.


The emotional appeal of the word decree to many in the west is that of a monarch or a dictator and illegitimate in a democratic society. FDR was accuxed by the right wingers as acting the same way in the national emergencies which were destabilizing national government so much it made room for demagogues, fascists or communists to re-write the government to fit their ideologies and destroy national unity. The right wing of this country wants that to be the case again, so they can divide the country up into Koch kingdoms with all resources in their hands, so that people must bend to their religion, system of bribes and social order - in which many of us will be ground under their boot - as the Commons are being destroyed.

The situation in Venezuela is being painted by all sides according to their interests, and the ideology of Hugo and Maduro is a red flag that is not as palatable to us as that of FDR, which sprang from a different place in our history and culture.

We cannot make them be like us or fit into their box. The climate change issue is usually laid at the feet of the more prosperous nations, with longer standing regimes, merely because that is what they are, literally. In each of these 'first world vs. the third world' arguments, I feel that something has been left out.

There are forces or groups within all of these nations that went along gleefully with every reactionary regime that is installed. There are beneficiaries. They are entrenched and they have their supporters. Not all the people in those countries are bad off and expect to prosper under 'revolution.' They are not all villains, although some most definitely are, the paramilitary forces, etc.

We have been blessed to have had enough support for our own government here to not be assaulted by privately run militias for the rich and dangerous, as i call them. We are not far off.

Back to the decree term, I am not going to get caught up in the word game. Venezuelan law calls these legal decrees, giving legitmacy, I am still going behind the words to the reasons, effects and the end results expected from the measures being taken.

FDR wrote executive orders that closed the banks causing individuals to lose money, not just big players, and some have never forgiven him for that; he wrote the ones that interned innocent Americans of Japanese and other descent to camps; and pushed legislation through as fast as the could; increased the SCOTUS judges to stop the reactionaries and the obstructionists of his day from undoing the social democracy that led to the country most of us still are reaping the benefits of today.

These were called totalitarian actions by his opponents. PBO has made a few EO's that has been called reasons for his impeachment. We who support our government and social democracy do not see thesee as onerous. We cannot afford to do so, when we have the Koch brothers, demagogues and theocrats attempting to drag us back to the dark ages.

This is a discussion board, all things will be talked about. But for me, the threat of a Koch kingdom style of state by state and even national government is a greater threat than what is going on in Venezuela. Maduro was not the VP, or so I have read recently, much to my surprise when googling, making his sucession a controversy, but others say he would have been supported by Chavez.

Were the elections improper down there? And to whom? As Democrats, and people like Bernie Sanders as he said in a recent video, we believe in one man one vote. The Koch brothers and the GOP do not believe that, they believe in one dollar for each vote. They are fascists loosely speaking the mold of patricians and believe that the very word demo-crat is an abomination. It means to them, as I have argued witht them and libertarians, that demo-cracy is mob rule. That they want to be a Republic and it does not mean the same thing to them as it does to us when we say the Pledge of Allegiance which was written by a Socialist. They want to 'take back' the USA government to return to their chosen form of governance, the Roman Republic, with firm class lines, with the top being the wealthy patricians controlling govenment and society, and a slave class at the bottom, as the Natural Order of things. I've posted the writings of some of the philosophers so beloved by some and their views of slaves, those conquered and women as having no rights at all in the social order. This is no different from the GOP.

If you have made it through this confused ramble so far, I appreciate it. I am not really awake, my brain is scarcely working and I need some food and some coffee. I am also not in a argumentative mood either, or putting any of you down, but there is more to these threads that we are expressing, of hopes and ideologies and trying to fit all things into the same boxes.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 07:42 AM

6. Pathetic, isn't it? Only a would-be propagandist would use that word.

Thank you for pointing it out.

It's only one of their many stupid, misleading, underhanded tricks.

They've been doing this so long most sensible people started seeing through it long ago,

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 08:52 AM

10. what's pathetic is you don't know what an executive order is or the difference

between a law and an executive order.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 10:25 AM

11. It's the word that the Venezuelan government uses

What do you mean Judi?

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Response to freshwest (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 08:06 AM

7. Decree with Rank, Value and Strength of Law is the exact term in the Constitution of Venezuela.

Or "Decreto con Rango, Valor y Fuerza de Ley"

Here's the "Gaceta Oficial" of the Republic where all Venezuelan laws are compiled

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Response to freshwest (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 08:50 AM

9. no its not, an Executive Order only applies to the Federal executive branch

not to the citizenry, the states, local governments, or the other federal branches. Its does not have the force of a congressionally approved bill. For example, Obama has absolutely no power to order supermarkets to lower their prices.

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 06:32 PM

24. You are mistaken on all counts of the extent of Executive Orders,

which while federal government ordered, commanded the states and all enttities to do the will of the EOs. These crossed all the lines of society, from business to the most personal and effected real people:

Executive Order 9066 was a United States presidential executive order signed and issued during World War II by the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorizing the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones. Eventually, EO 9066 cleared the way for the deportation of Japanese Americans to internment camps. The executive order was spurred by a combination of war hysteria and reactions to the Niihau Incident.

'Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas...'

Americans of Italian and German ancestry were also targeted by these restrictions, including internment. 11,000 people of German ancestry were interned, as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees. The interned Jewish refugees came from Germany, as the U.S. government did not differentiate between ethnic Jews and ethnic Germans (Jewish was defined as a religious practice). Some of the internees of European descent were interned only briefly, while others were held for several years beyond the end of the war. Like the Japanese internees, these smaller groups had American-born citizens in their numbers, especially among the children. A few members of ethnicities of other Axis countries were interned, but exact numbers are unknown.

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson was responsible for assisting relocated people with transport, food, shelter, and other accommodations.


I will note at this point, that Maduro is facing civil unrest and hysteria just as FDR was facing. As awful as the internment was, did it save lives?

I've read of the outright theft of land, homes and intense racist hatred expressed toward loyal Americans of Japanese descent by those who did not see any reason for them to be here.

Not pretty reading at all. If Maduro was not taking these measures, which are ostensibly to ease the fury of the masses, would they shed the blood of those who they see as robbing them?

Is Maduro promulgating violence or reducing it?

Those questions seem to fall within DUer's notions of pro or anti Maduro, or ideology. Revolutions, wars and civil wars kill many innocent people who are scapegoated.

Remarkably, EO 9066 was not repealed until 1976 by President Ford. More information at link above.

EO 9066 violated the 5th Amendment under the Constitution, or so it was argued by plaintiffs. The Supreme Court disagreed:

The Legality of Japanese Relocation

The legality of interning thousands of American Japanese was thoroughly tested in the following cases:

Case #1:

Hirbayashi, an American citizen of Japanese ancestry, was convicted in the district court of knowingly disregarding restrictions placed on him by the relocation order. The defendant cited his Fifth Amendment rights which guarantees that Americans will not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. In trying the case, the Supreme Court upheld the position of the government as a wartime necessity.

Case #2:

Based on the Hirbayashi Case, the Supreme Court once again upheld the legality of the relocation when presented with the case of Fred Korematsu, who was arrested and convicted for not reporting to an assembly center in May 1942 and for remaining in San Leandro, California, a 'Military Area.' In this case, the Supreme Court exhibited deference towards military opinion and made it clear that the relocation was based on military necessity and not on racial prejudice. Also, the term "concentration camp" is explicitly condemned as a reference to the relocation centers.


Another of FDR's EO's during war time is this one here:

EO 8802 was issued to end racial and other discrimination in hiring for government work. While is within your idea of federal, those manufacturers were not directly employed by the federal government, but were by privately owned firms, such as GM, etc.:


Those are just a few examples. We are also not living during WW2 or the American Civil War. And some of the EO's from Kennedy through Bush are scary things that do give the POTUS power to mobilize or force any people, business and resources in emergencies.

We don't ever want these to be enacted, and they will not be if we maintain a democratic government, but some are determined to undermine the things that prevent revolution, or social disorder, civil wars or catastrophes made by people.

Natural catastrophes can be mitigated by a well functioning government taking steps to reduce the impact, which the Grover types want eliminated. More profit for them by destroying the Commons, allowing them to enforce economic apartheid by privatization. We are now seeing this take place here in our country. It leads to a feudal mindset.

Which is what countries south of the border have endured for centuries. It's not new for them to be squeezed by oligarchs.

It appears that Maduro is of the mind, as are his supporters, that he is in the midst of a war against those persons or groups intent on overturning his government. He thinks he is legitimate. I am talking in terms of reasons and results. Is it a civil war?

Lincoln also did things that crossed all the lines.

Going after supermarkets seems silly or dictatorial to us. It may be his last stand. Myself, I do not believe this is the way to get concessions from the implacable business class. In our country, there was an appeal from all fronts, religious and otherwise, to decency and fair play. And violence, indeed, that forced changes.

Coming from centuries of hardship based on brutal colonial rule in the Americas, which the USA fought off years ago, it seems out of line to some people. The Europeans had wars based on this and accomplished a more thorough job of creating a more equa society despite maintenance of their aristocratic families, than even we have.

If Maduro is not building needed infrastructure, both social and physical in his nation, he will fail. In order to have working government, or to achieve a social democracy the basics of life must be available, as well as the promotion of education and training for the jobs of the future in a world economy. Venezuela's oil didn't produce prosperity in recent years.

Should Chavez or now Maduro make some kind of compromise with the business class to build a mixed social democracy such as Europe and to a lesser extent, the USA?

It's heretical to some, but it theoretically takes care of the needs of most of society, allows for social mobility, and faces the reality that the oligarches, as Putin admitted himself, are not going away...

So the face is, they must be negotatiated with, but we must remember they have legions of people who are not oligarchs, but support their system. They will kill those who try to end it as there is more than one kind of soldier.

Marxist theory calls for the evolution of society, and socialism springs from a capitalist stage after other forms have been overcome. But socialism always has opposition, its roots are deep and intertwined. Religion and other social groups support royalty of a less Earthly kind, but still, they use the same language.

Many otherwise modern people love romanticized views of a naturalistic medieval lifestyle in media fantasy. Within such alternative realities, there are acceptance of things we say we hate. Why would we fantasize about that, when we say we fear being taken back to the medieval era?

I suggest we're not being educated on the values of what we have in a social democracy, but want to dream. Those who dream of a utopia of equality thorugh socialism also refuse to give it up. Likely though, the future is in the middle. I wish it were not, personally.

Most of this is not a valid answer to your question or statement, but I will close in saying that the reasons for EO's and the decrees being explained in this thread, are not the bogeyman. The reason for what Maduro is doing has not been well explained, outside of ideological rhetorical terms.

The results may be good, they may be a disaster. The reason behind EO's are important, as are the results, not just the name.

AFAIK, Obama has never made an unConstitutional but any stretch of even the most radical RWNJ fantasy. I don't think Maduro is, either.

I still think we are not getting enough data from Venezuela to discuss fully what is happening there. There must be something more going on, that we are not seeing. The views appear one sided, pro or anti, not really factual.

Okay, back to housework. Sorry I didn't do better in this reply.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 01:46 AM

18. No. Venezuela Decrees are absolute legislation.

It is law.

It's also proof that they don't do squat to solve Venezuela's problems.

It's also proof that both Chavez and Maduro do not care about women having choice.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 08:20 AM

8. Not really... it had been used 4 times in 40 years from 1958 to 1998.

And this is the 6th time in 14 years.

First it was used to institutionalize the democratic regime in the late 50's, then to nationalize the oil industry in the 70's and to deal with the Debt Crisis in the early 80's. Finally, in the 90's after the failed coup attempt by Chavez and the destitution of Perez, it was used to direct the transition toward a new presidency.

Since 1998, it's been used to deal with floods, fight against corruption or inflation... matters that do not need the executive to legislate when the ruling party has already the majority in the Assembly = a pretext to concentrate power in the hands of one man.

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Response to spanza (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 01:47 AM

19. Hell, Chavez had it for 2/5ths of his Presidency.

It was basically a given for these guys. And not used at all for emergencies.

Nevermind the fact that Maduro's first decree power was bestowed to him by an ailing Chavez who was likely brain dead...

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 11:09 AM

12. Waitaminnit waitaminnit waitaminnit...

This interview was mostly about developing countries walking out on a climate change conference because of the rich countries? Including Venezuela, which relies almost totally on the sale of heavy crude to finance itself? Does no one else find this richly ironic? Totally hilarious? Amazingly, spectacularly hypocritical?

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 12:08 PM

22. I see your point but it's not hilarious to me. Rather depressingly human.

This particuarly human way of thinking does not bode well for living things. Or future generations. What we have been given freely on this planet is not respected, but it is essential, even for those who want wealth and power, beyond those pressed into supplying the labor for it.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #22)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 04:35 PM

23. Very worthy "toon." Sad to know we are in any way connected to it! n/t

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 12:11 PM

13. Thanks for setting the record straight

Peace Patriot!

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Wed Nov 27, 2013, 11:37 PM

14. A word about inflation...


As I understand it, inflation is not caused by a shortage of goods (and the resulting increased demand). It is caused by too much currency being in circulation for the amount of goods being produced.

If the net worth of a state is the sum of all the goods and services produced, plus the capital equipment (factories etc) then the value of the currency can be derived by dividing the net value of the goods by the number of currency units in circulation. When additional currency is printed and handed out (for example, the 3X December bonus in VZ) without any corresponding increase in production, the the value of the currency is diluted.

I'm sure it's more complicated than my simple model, but the essence is that just increasing the money supply alone is inflationary.

Please feel free to correct or expand on this as needed.

Edit: of course, if wealth is redistributed through the tax code, then no new currency is created. The government is just taking from one and giving to another.

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 07:00 AM

15. Yes that is true, however


The assumption is that there is a free market. The argument on the government's side is that large producers are colluding to withhold supply from the market.

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Response to Paolo123 (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:08 AM

16. Cartels usually don't last, though. Someone gets greedy and services the pent up demand.


I think the shortages, in the case of VZ, are the result of the gov't chasing away the people who know how to run the economy and replacing them with regime cronies. Also, their strict control over the purchase of US dollars is severely limiting the ability to import goods.

They're in a death spiral. Everyone seems to understand that the ship is going down, and they all want to grab a piece of the spoils before there's nothing left. I believe that very, very few people have faith that the gov"t knows what they're doing. Soon it will be every man for himself.

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Response to Paolo123 (Reply #15)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 01:49 AM

20. Which of course is never in the interests of the suppliers.

And which the Venezuelan government has full oversight over and only a handful of small companies have been caught in past year (ironically, all with Chavista ties).

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 07:39 AM

21. I'm not really arguing one side or the other.


Theoretically speaking if the suppliers had the ability and power, while it would not in their economic interest in the long term to do such, it could theoretically be in their interest if it meant overthrowing a government that they felt was going to take their assets in the long term.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Sat Nov 30, 2013, 04:35 PM

25. What the Venezuelan government does is criminal

I couldn't care less if they did it before or not. Maduro is wrong. Furthermore he's an idiot and he's running what little was left of that country. I don't think they will be seeing much foreign investment or loans in the future. And they are broke.

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