sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

EVENT ON VENEZUELA IN FREEDOM HOUSE


Thursday May 26 there was an event on Venezuela at Freedom House. Four panelists discussed the situation in Venezuela: Hilda Ochoa, Diana Lopez, Hector Schamis and Gustavo Coronel. Hilda Ochoa spoke about the causes that originated the current crisis. Diana Lopez, sister of Leopoldo Lopez, described the situation of Human Rights in the country and presented two short videos which illustrate the plight of political prisoners in the country. Hector Schamis analyzed the weakening of the Venezuelan regime and its increasing international rejection. I spoke about the collapse of the oil industry and  the impact of this collapse on the economic and social situation of the country.
My presentation was as follows:
                                             1.
WE ALL KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING IN VENEZUELA. EVEN JOSE MUJICA SAYS MADURO IS INSANE AND EVEN THE DAILY UK THE GUARDIAN CRITICIZES THE VENEZUELAN REGIME. IN THE U.S. PROBABLY ONLY DANNY GLOVER AND MARK WEISBROT REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE CHAVISTA NIGHTMARE
                                              2.
THE OIL INDUSTRY HAS COLLAPSED. CONSIDER THIS:
·      PDVSA IS FINANCIALLY AND OPERATIONALLY BROKE. HAS 4X NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES AND 30% LESS PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS THAN IN 1999. 30% OF EXPORTS RECEIVE NO CASH PAYMENTS
·      IT HAS AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE, AS MOST OF REMAININBG RESERVES ARE HEAVY OILS IN THE ORINOCO AREA, CONDEMNED TO BECOME STRANDED ASSETS. THIS WILL BE THE LAST CENTURY OF OIL AS THE PREFERRED ENERGY SOURCE
·      COLLAPSE OF PDVSA IS NOT DUE TO WEAKENING OIL PRICES BUT TO THE DISASTROUS POLICIES OF THE GVT. PDVSA WAS LEFT WITHOUT ENOUGH FUNDS FOR RE-INVESTMENT AND MAINTENANCE AND WAS CONVERTED  INTO A SOCIAL COMPANY, WITH ACTIVITIES NOT RELATED TO ITS CORE BUSINESS
                                          3.
THE ECONOMY IS IN RUINS. THE BIG DILEMMA THIS YEAR IS EITHER TO DEFAULT OR TO RESTRICT FOOD IMPORTS SINCE MONEY IS NOT ENOUGH TO PAY DEBT AND TO SUPPLY THE FOOD AND DRUG REQUIREMENTS OF THE POPULATION.
CONSIDER THIS:
·                THERE WILL BE A DEFICIT OF DOLLLARS OF $25 BILLION IN 2016
·                GDP WILL FALL BY 7% IN 2016, LARGEST DROP IN THE WORLD
·                INFLATION IS AT SOME 700%, THE LARGEST IN THE WORLD
·                POVERTY RATE HAS DOUBLED IN THE LAST THREE YEARS, FROM 35% TO 65%.
·                IMPORTS WILL FALL BY 40% IN 2016
·                INTERNATIONAL RESERVES ARE HAL OF WHAT THEY WERE SIX MONTHS AGO
·                GVT. IS LIQUIDATING ASSETS AT HALF VALUE TO RAISE CASH
·                DEBT PAYMENTS COMING IN OCTOBER AMOUNT TO SOME $6 BILLION. VENEZUELA NOW ASKING FOR NEW LOANS FROM CHINA, INDIA AND IRAN
·                FOREIGN COMPANIES ARE LEAVING THE COUNTRY.
                                            4.
 IS THERE A  WAY OUT?
·      THE PREVAILING STRATEGY BY THE OPPOSITION IS THE REVOKING REFERENDUM. IT TAKES TIME AND ITS ROAD IS FULL OF OBSTACLES. A MORE EXPEDITE WAY OUT, DENOUNCING MADURO AS A FOREIGNER HAS BEEN DISCARDED BY THE ORGANIZED OPPOSITION
CONSIDER THIS:
·      VENEZUELA IS A NARCO-STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES ARE DEEPLY  INVOLVED IN DRUG TRAFFICKING
·      VENEZUELA IS A VERY INEPT AND CORRUPT DICTATORSHIP AND MILLIONS OF STOLEN DOLLARS ARE DEPOSITED IN ANDORRA AND OTHER COUNTRIES BY GVT. BUREAUCRATS.
·      PEOPLE ARE GOING HUNGRY, PERSECUTED, EXPROPIATED AND ABUSED DAILY BY THE AUTHORITIES
·      YET, MANY WORLD LEADERS TELL US TO SIT DOWN WITH THE REGIME AND DIALOGUE AND NEGOTIATE. I DISAGREE.
·      VENEZUELA’S DEGRADATION HAS GOT TO THE POINT IN WHICH ONLY A CIVIC REBELLION CAN RESTORE SOME MEASURE OF NATIONAL DIGNITY. ONLY A SOCIETY ON ITS FEET CAN START THE COUNTRY ON THE WAY TO REAL RECOVERY.
·       WE ARE FACING A TRAGIC FUTURE. MILLIONS OF VENEZUELANS HAVE BEEN PROSTITUTED BY THE REGIME IN THESE 16 YEARS. THEY HAVE LIVED IN  PARASITIC SYMBIOSIS WITH THE REGIME, RECEIVING HANDOUTS IN EXCHANGE FOR POLITICAL LOYALTY. AFTER THIS REGIME GOES AWAY THE OVER-DEPENDENT POPULACE WILL REMAIN AS A HEAVY LOAD ON FUTURE GOVERNMENTS.
·      TO NEGOTIATE A TRANSITION, LETTING THE GANGSTERS GO SCOTT FREE AND NOT GIVING THE PASSIVE POPULATION AN EXAMPLE OF DIGNITY WILL BE LIKE SWEEPING THE TRASH UNDER THE RUG.

·      A CIVIC, OPEN REBELLION IS REQUIRED FOR VENEZUELA TO RECOVER FROM THEIR HUMILIATION AND SUFFERING AT THE HANDS OF THE CHAVEZ/MADURO REGIME