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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:49 am 
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NamelessStain wrote:


Could you post the whole article?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:51 am 
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NamelessStain wrote:


For folks like me who don't subscribe to WSJ here are some similar stories

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/01/americas/ ... index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/01/americas/ ... index.html

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:30 pm 
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From NPR's website: Midnight raids in Venezuela
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Venezuela Agents Arrest Opposition Leaders In Midnight Raids August 1, 20179:12 AM ET By Scott Neuman

Venezuelan security agents arrested two key opposition leaders in a midnight raid on their homes, making good on President Nicolas Maduro's promise to crack down on dissents following a vote that gave him broad authoritarian powers.

In the middle of the night, armed men took Leopoldo Lopez and Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma from their respective homes in the capital. The leaders had been highly critical of Maduro and had only recently been released from jail on politically motivated charges. The two, however, remained under house arrest.

The wife of Leopoldo posted a video on Twitter showing flak-jacketed agents bundling her husband into a vehicle marked "Sebin" — the name of Venezuela's intelligence agency — and then speeding off.

"They've just taken Leopoldo from the house," Lilian Tintori wrote in one tweet. "We don't know where he is or where they're taking him."

Ledezma's daughter, Vanessa Ledezma, also tweeted video that apparently shows the arrest of her father, taken from his home in pajamas. A woman in the video can be heard screaming, "They're taking Ledezma, they're taking Ledezma, dictatorship!"

Leopoldo and Ledezma had denounced Sunday's vote to change the constitution and grant Maduro new powers, labeling the poll undemocratic. The vote authorized the creation of a Constituent Assembly.

As NPR's Philip Reeves reported on Monday, the vote, which went in Maduro's favor after an opposition boycott, ensures the president will have a free hand in the country's affairs. "The way that the election was set up ensured that this would be a body that is packed with supporters of Maduro and the ruling Socialist Party," NPR's Philip Reeves explained on Morning Edition.

On Monday, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Maduro himself, marking only the fourth time that the U.S. has sanctioned the sitting leader of another country. In announcing the sanctions, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster referred to the "outrageous seizure of absolute power through the sham election of the national constituent assembly" and said of Maduro that he is "not just a bad leader. He is now a dictator."

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:08 am 
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Just like Zimbabwe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinfl ... n_Zimbabwe

Link: http://www.france24.com/en/20170804-ven ... ying-speed

Quote:
CARACAS (AFP) -

Venezuela's money, the bolivar, is sinking faster and faster under an intensifying political and economic crisis that has left citizens destitute and increasingly desperate.

Its depreciation accelerated this week, after a disputed vote electing an all-powerful "Constituent Assembly" filled with allies of President Nicolas Maduro, which the opposition and dozens of countries have called illegitimate.

On Thursday alone, the bolivar slumped nearly 15 percent on the black market, to be worth 17,000 to one US dollar.

In a year, the currency has lost 94 percent.

The decline has been dizzying -- yet largely ignored by the government, which uses an official rate fixed weekly that is currently 2,870 to the dollar.

Ordinary Venezuelans, however, refer only to the black market rate they have access to, which they call the "dolar negro," or "black dollar."

"Every time the black dollar goes up, you're poorer," resignedly said Juan Zabala, an executive in a reinsurance business in Caracas.

- Salaries decimated -

His salary is 800,000 bolivares per month. On Thursday, that was worth $47 at the parallel rate. A year ago, it was $200.

The inexorable dive of the money was one of the most-discussed signs of the "uncertainty" created by the appointment of the Constituent Assembly, which starts work Friday.

As a result, those Venezuelans who are able to are hoarding dollars.

"People are protecting the little they have left," an economics expert, Asdrubal Oliveros of the Ecoanalitica firm, told AFP.

But Zabala -- who is considered comparatively well-off -- and other Venezuelans struggling with their evaporating money said they now spent all they earned on food. A kilo (two pounds) of rice, for instance, cost 17,000 bolivares.

The crisis biting into Venezuela since 2014 came from a slide in the global prices for oil -- exports of which account for 96 percent of its revenues.

The government has sought to monopolize dollars in the country through strict currency controls that have been in place for the past 14 years. Access to them have become restricted for the private sector, with the consequence that food, medicines and basic items -- all imported -- have become scarce.

According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Venezuela is expected to soar above 700 percent this year.

In June, Maduro tried to clamp down on the black market trade in dollars through auctions of greenbacks at the weekly fixed rate, known as Dicom. There is also another official rate, of 10 bolivars per dollar, reserved for food and medicine imports.

"Things are going up in price faster than salaries," noted Zabala, who spends 10 percent of his income on diabetes treatment, when he can.

- 'No limit' -

Maduro has vowed that a new constitution the Constituent Assembly is tasked with writing will wean Venezuela off its oil dependency and restart industry, which is operating at only 30 percent of capacity.

But the president, who links the "black dollar" with an "economic war" allegedly waged by the opposition in collaboration with the US, has not given details on what would be implemented.

On Thursday, Maduro promised "speculators" setting their prices in line with "the terrorist criminal dollar in Miami" would go to jail.

For the past four months, Maduro has been the target of protests which have been forcefully confronted by security units, resulting in a toll of more than 125 deaths.

The opposition says the new Constituent Assembly is an effort to create a "dictatorship" along the lines of Communist Cuba.

Against that backdrop of tensions, "there is no limit on how far the black dollar can go," according to Ecoanalitica.

But a director of the firm, Henkel Garcia said he believed the current black market rate "didn't make sense" and he noted that in the past currency declines weren't linear.

Oliveros said increased printing of bolivares by the government was partly the reason for the black dollar's rise.

"When you inject bolivares into the market, that means that companies, individuals go looking for dollars, which are scarce," he said, estimating that the shortfall of dollars this year was some $11 billion.

The horizon is darkened further with big debt repayments Venezuela has to make, for instance $3.4 billion the state oil company PDVSA has to reimburse in October. That debt is denominated in dollars.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:07 am 
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From the Associated Press via Twitter:
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BREAKING: Venezuela constitutional assembly votes unanimously to remove chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega from office.


Let the dictatorship begin.... :(

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:04 pm 
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We've also levied sanctions against them as well. Which will hit them in the wallet, seeing as how one of the reasons they are in this mess (not all) is because gas prices have bottomed out.

We shall see what happens, one this is certain however..... The people will be the ones who suffer, not the leaders.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:10 pm 
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From the ABC (Australia) website:
Quote:
Venezuela: Chief prosecutor critical of Maduro removed, ordered to stand trial Updated about 5 hours ago

Venezuela's chief prosecutor has been fired and ordered to stand trial, less than 24 hours after a newly elected legislative super-body was installed with sweeping powers to strengthen President Nicolas Maduro's grip on power.

Since the opposition started a round of protests in April, Ms Ortega has become President Nicolas Maduro's main challenger from within the ruling socialist movement, accusing him of human rights abuses.

The new constituent assembly, which Ms Ortega said was fraudulently elected last weekend, unanimously decided to remove her in its first session on Saturday.

His loyalist Supreme Court sent a letter to the assembly informing it of an indictment against Ms Ortega, accusing her of "alleged commission of serious misconduct," without further outlining the charge.

Earlier in the day, security forces had taken up position in front of her office, blocking Ms Ortega from entering the building.

She left on a motorbike amid the chaos.

The constituent assembly replaced Ms Ortega with human rights ombudsman Tarek Saab, a government ally whom the opposition says has turned a blind eye to state abuses.

The new legislative body has no checks on its powers, and critics say the decision to remove Ms Ortega is an ominous sign of a swerve by Mr Maduro into full-blown dictatorship.

"The constituent assembly is solving Maduro's political problems, handing out quotas, and lynching institutions," said opposition lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares after news of Ms Ortega's removal.

The constituent assembly could also re-write the constitution, re-arrange state institutions and allow Mr Maduro to rule by decree.

Assembly members had said they would fire Ms Ortega the first chance they got.

Trade bloc suspension adds to pressure

The South American trade bloc Mercosur suspended Venezuela indefinitely on Saturday, adding to international pressure on Mr Maduro over the assembly.

Foreign ministers of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil announced the decision in Sao Paulo, urging Mr Maduro to release prisoners and immediately start a political transition.

"We are saying: Stop with this! Enough with the deaths, enough with the repression," Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes said.

"It is not possible to inflict such torture on the people."

Asked to comment on Ms Ortega's dismissal, Mr Nunes replied with a Latin proverb: "Whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad."

Mercosur has no provision for expulsion — it had suspended Venezuela temporarily in December for not complying with the bloc's regulations, and toughened its stance following the weekend's controversial election.

Countries around the world have condemned the vote, calling it a bid to extend Mr Maduro's rule indefinitely.

Reuters

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:47 am 
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From the CBC website via Twitter:
Quote:
Venezuelan troops quell military uprising Thomson Reuters Posted: Aug 06, 2017 9:14 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 06, 2017 9:14 AM ET

Gunshots heard before dawn near base after video calls for rebellion against President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan authorities have suppressed a military rebellion near the central city of Valencia, a ruling official said on Sunday, days after President Nicolas Maduro formed a legislative superbody internationally condemned as a power grab.

Socialist Party deputy Diosdado Cabello made the announcement shortly after the release of a video showing a group of men in military uniform announcing a rebellion and calling for a broad uprising against President Nicolas Maduro.

One witness in the area of a military base in the town of Naguanagua reported hearing gunshots before dawn, but Cabello said the situation had been brought under control.

The defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Friday, government allies inaugurated a new legislative superbody that the Venezuelan opposition and leaders around the world denounced as a power grab by Maduro.

In Sunday's video, a man who identified himself as Juan Carlos Caguaripano, a former National Guard captain, said: "We demand the immediate formation of a transition government." He was flanked by about a dozen men in military uniforms.

"This is not a coup d'etat," he said. "This is a civic and military action to re-establish constitutional order. But more than that, it is to save the country from total destruction."

On Saturday, Maduro's new "constituent assembly" removed the chief prosecutor from her post and ordered her to stand trial, confirming opposition fears that it would use its powers to root out critics of the government.

© Thomson Reuters, 2017

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:46 pm 
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From the STRATFOR website via Twitter: Legislative Suspension
Quote:
Situation Report

Aug 6, 2017 | 18:50 GMT Venezuela: Second Session Of National Constitutional Assembly Suspended

The second session of Venezuela's National Constitutional Assembly has been suspended, Efecto Cocuyo reported Aug. 6. The meeting was supposed to begin at 6 p.m. local time in Caracas. It's unclear if the cancellation has to do with the attempted military uprising in Naguanagua.



Military Uprising?

Quote:
Venezuela: Military Uprising May Not Be What it Seems

The alleged Venezuelan military uprising in Naguanagua, Carabobo state, is less clear-cut than it first appears. Early on Aug. 6, influential Venezuelan politician Diosdado Cabello claimed on his Twitter account that there had been an uprising at Fort Paramacay but that the uprising was put down. Joint Strategic Operational Command chief Adm. Remigio Ceballos, appointed through Cabello's influence supposedly to undercut the influence of Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez, later said that seven participants in the uprising were arrested. Two others were killed according to unconfirmed reports. Carabobo state Gov. Francisco Ameliach claimed that they had links to opposition leaders in the state as well. And after Cabello's claims, Padrino Lopez also came out in support of the government, saying that the uprising was done by "terrorists" that could not challenge the armed forces.

But apart from the version of events presented by government representatives, there is little evidence of whether the uprising occurred as alleged. In the past, the government has claimed to dismantle numerous coup attempts with little or no evidence supporting its claims. In this case, the alleged insurgents released a video on social media calling for an end to President Nicolas Maduro's government. The group's ringleader (according to the video) is a person previously identified in a 2014 video as Capt. Juan Caguaripano of the National Guard. In the 2014 video, Caguaripano announced his opposition to Maduro's government, and the video appears to have been widely disseminated on social media and foreign news outlets. Caguaripano appears in the Aug. 6 video, but as a representative of the 41st Armored Brigade. Locals in Naguanagua claimed to hear gunshots and observed helicopters flying over Fort Paramacay earlier in the day as well.

Still, the veracity of the incident is unclear. The Venezuelan government has been monitoring its armed forces in recent months out of concern over potential uprisings. The supposed uprising may merely be a propaganda tool for the government to portray itself as being besieged by opposition forces. Regardless, it doesn't immediately change the political situation in Venezuela. Even if it did occur as claimed, a single failed uprising in a peripheral city would not imminently threaten the government's hold on power.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:17 pm 
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From the ABC (USA) website via Twitter: Link
Quote:
The Latest: Brazil criticizes ouster of Venezuela prosecutor By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP) CARACAS, Venezuela — Aug 6, 2017, 3:38 PM ET

The Latest on Venezuela's political crisis (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Brazil is criticizing the removal of Venezuela's chief prosecutor by a newly installed constitutional assembly with nearly unlimited authority to govern.

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry calls Luisa Ortega Diaz's ouster "arbitrary and illegal."

President Michel Temer says the ongoing political crisis in neighboring Venezuela is worrying and his country is "on the side of the Venezuelan people."

In a video posted online, Temer says "there is no more space for non-democratic alternatives in South America."

Ortega Diaz is a longtime government loyalist turned critic of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. She has refused to recognize the assembly's vote Saturday to remove her from office.

———

3:15 p.m.

An opposition party official in Venezuela says a local leader has been shot dead at a protest near a military base that was attacked earlier by a group opposed to President Nicolas Maduro's government.

Haydee Franco is coordinating secretary of the Progressive Advance party. Franco says the man identified as Ramon Rivas was slain in the central city of Valencia, less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the base.

Rivas was declared dead at a medical clinic.

Protests are taking place in various neighborhoods around Valencia Sunday afternoon. Many of the demonstrators say they support the men who launched the attack.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez says the incident was quickly suppressed by troops and the men captured.

National guard troops have launched tear gas to disperse the demonstrations.

———

2:25 p.m.

Venezuela's defense minister says a small group of men who attacked a military base were civilians wearing military uniforms with the exception of one deserted army lieutenant.

Vladimir Padrino Lopez alleges that the men were recruited by "right-wing extremists" with ties to unspecified foreign governments. He adds that the attackers managed to steal some of the army's weapons.

Seven men were detained in Sunday's attack on the base in the central city of Valencia. They are expected to be tried in military tribunals.

Earlier a video circulated online in which a man who identified himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano announced the men were in rebellion and encouraged Venezuelans to support them. In 2014, while a member of the national guard, Caguaripano denounced President Nicolas Maduro before going into exile.

A statement from Padrino Lopez also mentions the recording of a video by a military officer who was dismissed three years ago "for betraying the homeland and rebellion" and fled the country.

Padrino Lopez calls the incident a "propaganda show."

———

12:15 p.m.

The commander of Venezuela's army says attackers who staged an apparent uprising at a military base encountered a legion of troops who remained loyal to the government.

Jesus Suarez Chourio says troops responded "with one fist" and "the riffraff was defeated once again."

In a video message broadcast on state television, Suarez Chourio said the "paramilitary" group that attacked the Paramacay base before dawn was "taking advantage of current conditions."

Venezuela has been embroiled in four months of political upheaval. That intensified this week with the election and installation of a constitutional assembly that will rule with nearly unlimited powers.

A video that circulated on social media earlier Sunday showed a group of men in military fatigues proclaiming rebellion against President Nicolas Maduro's government and urging other troops to join them.

———

11:40 a.m.

An eyewitness who lives near the Venezuelan military base where troops suppressed an apparent uprising says residents gathered nearby and shouted "freedom!" as the attack was underway.

The person says bursts of gunfire could be heard coming from the base in the central city of Valencia starting around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

Residents began gathering outside after seeing a video circulating on social media in which men dressed in military fatigues announced they were rebelling against President Nicolas Maduro's government.

The men in the video encouraged residents to show support.

The eyewitness spoke to The Associated Press by phone from Valencia and insisted on not being named for fear of possible reprisals.

Venezuelan military officials are describing the short-lived incident as a "terrorist" attack and say seven people have been detained.

Authorities launched tear gas at dozens of protesters outside the base.

— Contributed by Christine Armario in Miami.

———

8:25 a.m.

Venezuelan ruling party chief Diosdado Cabello says there has been a "terrorist" attack at a military base controlled by troops loyal to the government and several people have been arrested.

Cabello reports via Twitter that troops acted quickly to control the situation at the Paramacay base in the central city of Venezuela.

The announcement came after a small group of men dressed in military fatigues, some armed with assault rifles, released a video declaring themselves in rebellion in Carabobo state, where Valencia is located.

In the video a man identifying himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano said that any unit refusing to go along with its call for rebellion would be declared a military target.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:22 pm 
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When six people can vote to help themselves to four people's shit, this is the inevitable end-game.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:50 pm 
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From Reuters:
Quote:
Specter of coup, surge in violence haunt Venezuela By Alexandra Ulmer

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela appears to be sliding toward a more volatile stage of unrest after anti-government forces looted weapons during a weekend raid on a military base and frustration over what some see as an ineffectual opposition leadership boils over.

Last week's installation of an all-powerful new legislative body run by leftist President Nicolas Maduro's Socialist Party loyalists, despite massive protests and a global outcry, has left many Venezuelans feeling there are no more democratic options to oppose the government.

That sentiment may have helped trigger Sunday's raid on a military base near the city of Valencia by soldiers and armed civilians, in which the government said two people were killed. Venezuelan authorities say they are hunting 10 of the attackers who escaped with a cache of weapons.

In a pre-taped video, the group of more than a dozen men in military-style uniforms said they were seeking to restore constitutional order and called for Maduro to step aside in favor of a transitional government.

The raid has raised the specter of a coup or a surge in already serious levels of violence in the country of 30 million as its slides further into an economic crisis and chaos.

Even before Sunday's attack, Maduro's consolidation of power had left many protesters disappointed with what they see as a quarrelsome and self-interested opposition coalition.

More than 120 people have been killed and thousands arrested in four months of unrest that failed to prevent last month's elections to the new constituent assembly.

Many hardliners felt betrayed as their leaders appeared to hesitate on strategy and postponed protests last week. The coalition's many political parties have also diverged over whether to take part in gubernatorial elections in December, especially after widespread accusations of fraud in the constituent assembly election.

For the hooded youths who block roads with iron metal sheets and debris - forming the militant fringe of an otherwise broadly peaceful protest movement - the fragmented opposition leadership is already history.

"We have to stop believing in the opposition coalition. We can only believe in ourselves," said a young man from the Andean state of Tachira, who quit university to move to Caracas and join the protests,

The 20-year-old, whose face was covered with a T-shirt as he brandished a homemade petrol bomb, declined to give his name for fear of reprisal. A new public prosecutor, named by the constituent assembly in its first session on Saturday, has pledged to crack down hard on the demonstrators.

CONFLICT AHEAD?

Government repression, however, threatens to push militants within the protest movement underground and into the formation of paramilitary or rebel groups in a country awash with weapons, according to political analyst and pollster Luis Vicente Leon.

"As the government radicalizes, these groups will tend to grow and the future could be full of conflict," Leon told Reuters.

He did not elaborate, but other analysts have also spoken of the threat of a low-intensity civil war in Venezuela barring some reversal in the country's current decline.

In what could be a harbinger of more violent tactics by protesters, an explosion wounded seven police officers on motorbikes during the election of the constituent assembly on July 30.

Maduro has said he is facing an "armed insurrection" designed to end socialism in Latin America and let a U.S.-backed business elite get its hands on the OPEC nation's massive crude reserves.

On the surface, at least, the prospect of a decisive military coup to oust the former union leader, who was narrowly elected in 2013 after being hand-picked by former President Hugo Chavez to succeed him, seems far off.

There have been no outward signs of any split between Maduro and the military leadership, which continues to publicly back him.

But the purported leader of Sunday's raid on the military base, fugitive former National Guard captain Juan Carlos Caguaripano, has called on his "brothers in arms" to disobey orders from military leaders.

And Oscar Perez, a rogue police pilot who attacked government buildings in a helicopter attack in Caracas in June, has said he is keeping up the fight while on the run.

"We support the military uprisings," said Maria Rodriguez, 35, a cheese seller who was blocking roads in Caracas' wealthier Altamira district on Sunday. "We citizens can't do this alone."

DEMORALIZED PROTESTERS

Many of her fellow opposition supporters, however, are exhausted after four months of street demonstrations and disruptions to daily life, which ultimately failed to make Maduro accept opposition demands.

Turnout at marches called by the opposition has fizzled in the last few weeks, and some people just want to return to work quickly in the country plagued with empty food shelves, runaway inflation and a fourth straight year of recession.

The opposition's attempt at a recall referendum against Maduro was scuttled by authorities last year. The opposition-led congress has been effectively neutralized and the Supreme Court, stacked with Maduro's Socialist Party allies, has been fully supportive of a leftist leader the United States and others call a "dictator."

Opposition leaders have long been seen as out of touch with ordinary Venezuelans, and the country's growing number of poor people, but they continue urging unity and hope for the future.

"These 130 days of struggle have not been in vain," said Julio Borges, the president of the opposition-governed congress, over the weekend. "Don't be demoralized. Don't think the government is winning: What the government is doing is destroying itself."

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:01 pm 
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From the NPR website: Venezuela's Pro-Maduro Assembly Seizes Congressional Powers
Quote:
Venezuela's Pro-Maduro Assembly Seizes Congressional Powers August 18, 2017 5:08 PM ET By Colin Dwyer

The Venezuelan Constituent Assembly, an extremely powerful group called into existence by President Nicolas Maduro, just granted itself another power — one that was once the exclusive province of the country's elected congress: The 2-week-old assembly packed with Maduro supporters decreed Friday it has the power to pass laws.

While the move does not officially dissolve the Venezuelan legislature, it effectively renders the body of lawmakers moot by appropriating its principle responsibility. The Venezuelan congress, which has been filled with opposition politicians since their big wins in 2015 elections, has long been a thorn in the side of a president who has been tightening his hold on power.

As NPR's Philip Reeves notes, the assembly's maneuver Friday marks "another milestone in a rapid journey toward dictatorship."

As the pro-Maduro legislative superbody accumulates powers, the Venezuelan president and his Socialist Party now enjoy wide-ranging influence over every branch of government — including the Supreme Court, whose abortive attempt to nullify the country's opposition-controlled congress at the end of March helped set off months of violent unrest.

Earlier this year, amid the rampant protests against his administration, Maduro called for the election of the Constituent Assembly to rewrite the country's 18-year-old constitution. He did not allow voters a say in whether they wanted such a group — only in which pro-Maduro politicians they wanted as its members.

Since the controversial vote was held, many international observers — including the U.S. — have censured Maduro's government for what they called a "sham election." In the process, Maduro became only the fourth sitting head of state to be sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Still, Maduro allies deride the outside criticism as overblown and driven by foreign powers seeking to undermine his government.

"Those lazy bums have to work," Delcy Rodriguez, president of the assembly, said Friday of the opposition lawmakers, according to Reuters. She says the move does not amount to a power grab. Rather, she said, "What we are doing is telling them 'Gentlemen, we are not going to let you take a holiday.' "

The wire service notes the congressional lawmakers rejected the assembly's invitation to attend the session, saying the group "was fraudulently created and usurped their powers."

"The Constituent Assembly is null, and its acts are illegal and unconstitutional," the opposition tweeted, as translated by The Washington Post. "The National Assembly [Venezuela's congress], the international community and the people will not abide by the annulment decision."

For now, though, the opposition faces diminishing options in its struggle against Maduro, who — after months of protests, the deaths of more than 120 people in the unrest, and thousands more arbitrary detentions — now appears to have a stronger hold on power than ever before.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:24 am 
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How did America end up this way?

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grennels wrote:
How did America end up this way?

Loss over generations of the skill of objective critical thinking.

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LowKey wrote:
grennels wrote:
How did America end up this way?

Loss over generations of the skill of objective critical thinking.


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After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

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How did Venezuela end up this way ?

Socialism.




Like a Drug really.

It works, at first, and makes you feel good.

It then sucks up all your money and finally kills you.


... but ask any Socialist, and what will they say ?

"Oh, but that isn't real Socialism"

"Real Socialism hasn't been tried yet"


Just how many attempts will this world need ?


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From CNBC: This is one of the world's most dangerous places to mine bitcoin
Quote:
This is one of the world's most dangerous places to mine bitcoin MacKenzie Sigalos Published 8:01 AM ET Wed, 30 Aug 2017 | Updated 5 Hours Ago 9:31 AM ET Thu, 31 Aug 2017 | 09:41

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have long been seen as a risky investment, but in places like Venezuela, they can also be dangerous.

Thousands of Venezuelans have turned to secretly mining the digital currency — which is closing in on a record high near $5,000 — for their economic survival, and for many that means risking jail time.

Venezuela was once the richest country in South America, but it's now in crisis. It stands at the brink of civil war. Deadly protests paralyze city centers. It's the world's most indebted country, and its GDP has collapsed. Food and basic necessities are scarce, people are rationing toothpaste and toilet paper, and there are even reports of hungry Venezuelans killing flamingos and anteaters for food.

The country's future economic picture looks just as bleak. It already has the highest inflation rate on the planet. The International Monetary Fund expects prices in Venezuela to rise more than 1,100 percent this year.

Venezuela's currency — the bolivar — is in free fall. Going against black market rates, it's lost 99.4 percent of its value since 2012. But bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies are insulated from all that. They're fully decentralized so they're immune to what's happening in any one country — regardless of where they're mined. And that's why Venezuelans have turned to mining.

Venezuela's underground cryptocurrency miners

In the cryptocurrency world, miners use computers to do the bookkeeping for digital transactions, verifying them and adding them to a public ledger. When someone mines, they earn digital currency as a payment for their efforts. It's been a lifeline for people like "Brother," a nickname used by an individual who lives just outside Caracas, who only agreed to speak to CNBC on condition of anonymity.

The 29-year-old father initially got into mining because his $43 monthly salary from his government job wasn't enough to support the baby girl he and his wife had on the way. That's when he decided to start illegally using computers in his government office to mine. He has since quit his job and now mines using his own equipment from home.

"Because of my daughter, I didn't think of it as a risk to what could happen to me in the company. I have to take the risk for her. I have to do this for her," says Brother.

Brother's story is a familiar one. David Fernando Lopez has since fled the country, but he once ran a bitcoin mining farm out of Caracas for three years. He was 40-years-old and didn't have a job. Mining was the one thing that could take him out of poverty. "You can feed a family with one ether rig. It's a fact."

Lopez says that a lot of people are doing this right now. "Andrea Perez" is among them. CNBC is using an assumed name for her to protect her identity. Andrea works three jobs, yet mining bitcoin represents roughly 80 percent of her income, or around $120 per month. "For me, bitcoin has represented the ability to be able to support and feed my daughter in a very volatile environment."

With a drastic shortages of supplies, Lopez says the easiest way to get basic amenities is to use cryptocash on e-commerce site purse.io. He orders staples like soap, deodorant, and shampoo — then a courier from Miami will deliver the goods right to his office. Others use cryptocash to buy vital medicine, like insulin, from overseas.

Quote:
"You can feed a family with one ether rig. It's a fact." -David Fernando López, Former bitcoin farm operator


The process of mining itself isn't all that intuitive, so many have turned to online forums and YouTube tutorials to learn how to do it. Randy Brito runs an online forum called Bitcoin Venezuela that teaches people how to mine. Brito operates remotely out of Spain, having fled Venezuela with his family when he was 14. What started as a community of 10 users has ballooned to nearly 10,000 people.

"People are barely making a living with their jobs there. Even if they're a professional, they are not able to work," Brito said. "So people are finding that mining is a way to make a predictable income for their families."

Though it's a vital source of income for many, he says the danger of mining is becoming more acute by the day. "People who mine bitcoin or crypto with mining rigs, they're usually doing it underground," said Brito.

Venezuela's crackdown on mining

Mining cryptocurrency is completely legal in Venezuela, yet police have been arresting miners.

It began with Valencia-based Joel Padron and Jose Perales. Local media reported both were arrested and detained for several months in 2016 on charges of energy theft and possession of contraband.

The number of arrests and raids has steadily grown since then. When asked about why authorities were cracking down so hard on bitcoin miners, a detective from the national police (CICPC) told CNBC that in many of these cases, suspects were "exploiting resources without documentation."

However, some miners said the Venezuelan government views cryptocurrencies as a threat to the already weak bolivar and to its strict rules about capital flight. Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

One Reddit post by a Venezuelan bitcoin miner claimed that, "miners are getting jailed and accused of terrorism, money laundering, computer crimes and many other crimes. It's getting crazy here and I really don't want to waste my life for money."

Quote:
"Miners are getting jailed and accused of terrorism, money laundering …"


A year ago, "Tego Sanchez" spent his life savings on mining hardware and taught himself to mine. It now accounts for 80 percent of his income. At ethereum's peak price, he earned roughly $20 daily. But the 23-year-old says he lives in constant fear of being caught after seeing his friends arrested in raids. He says that's a big reason Venezuela's crypto community largely runs on secret groups and encrypted messaging apps like Telegram. That's also why he uses an assumed identity.

"I haven't had any problems with national security forces because I don't talk about it. Not even my friends know what I do," he said. "My grandmother is the only person who knows because I live with her."

"Mateo Patino" also taught himself to mine back when the economy went sideways in 2012. At the height of bitcoin's value, he raked in up to $600 monthly, roughly three times the wage he earned as a journalist.

Patino says he was approached by the SEBIN, an acronym given to the country's intelligence service — the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional. "They started to ask questions about why I was drawing so much power from my house. I actually turned off all my bitcoin miners, and I moved them to another secure location."

This is one way authorities track down miners. Venezuela has heavily state subsidized electricity. That keeps the price low, which is a major incentive, because mining for cryptocurrencies takes an enormous amount of electrical power. However, it also means police monitor power consumption all across the country. Miners said when authorities see that somebody is using too much electricity, they go after them.

That's why many arrests of miners are on charges of internet fraud and electricity theft. Earlier this year, four miners in Charallave were arrested for allegedly endangering the stability of the town's electrical service.

Brother said he not only protects his online identity; he also conceals his electrical footprint. He has split his mining equipment across three different locations, and pays his neighbors to use their electricity so he can spread his devices across multiple power grids.

But even using precautions, Patino said, mining for bitcoin, in particular, is a major gamble.

"Mining bitcoin became something out of a spy movie, because miners were getting arrested on false charges," Patino said. "Many bitcoin miners are being prosecuted. Many, they're scared, they're paranoid."

Lopez said he ultimately had to get out of the business entirely for his own safety. Though 99 percent of his net worth is still invested in bitcoin, Lopez said he now chooses to trade the cryptocurrency instead, a bystander as the danger of mining grows.

After getting out of the business of mining, Lopez ultimately fled Venezuela.
Source: David Fernando López
After getting out of the business of mining, Lopez ultimately fled Venezuela.
Venezuela is just one country in deep political and economic crisis, but it illustrates why digital currency alternatives like bitcoin are gaining in importance.

Joe Lubin, co-founder of the cryptocurrency ethereum, argues in challenging conditions where natural currencies are spiraling out of control, cryptocurrencies are integral to survival. "Yes, they're volatile. But they represent real lifesaving value to many people in many countries around the world."

MacKenzie Sigalos Senior Producer

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:39 am 
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Link: http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/14/news/ec ... index.html

Quote:
Can rabbit meat save Venezuela from going hungry?
Let them eat rabbits.

That was basically the message from President Nicolas Maduro to Venezuelans starving and struggling through severe food shortages brought on by a spiraling economic crisis.

Maduro unveiled "Plan Rabbit" on Wednesday with his agriculture minister, Freddy Bernal, at a meeting that was broadcast on Periscope. (In the video, the announcement comes after the two-hour mark).

The Venezuelan leaders, who blame President Trump and the United States for Venezuela's economic crisis, recommend that people raise rabbits at home as a source of food.

"The rabbit isn't a pet, it's only two and a half kilos of meat," Bernal said smiling, with a few laughs around him. "Trump's attack against the Venezuelan people is an opportunity to revise and change cultural consumption patterns."

Maduro, grinning, cheered Bernal's talk, adding "The first part of Plan Rabbit moves forward!" He added that some rabbits have already been distributed to a few communities as part of a pilot project.

Related: Trump bars banks from buying Venezuela state bonds

Maduro says U.S. sanctions on him and over 20 of his officials have exacerbated the crisis. The Trump administration also recently banned U.S. banks from buying newly-issued bonds from Venezuela's government and the state-run oil company, PDVSA.

"Plan Rabbit" illustrates the government's extreme measures to alleviate food shortages in Venezuela. Rabbit is not a commonly eaten item in the South American nation, where Bernal conceded that it's mostly viewed as a cute pet.

The agriculture minister argued that rabbits easily reproduce and are a source of protein. He also recommended citizens consider raising and growing other animals and vegetables at home.

It's just the latest attempt to try and solve the food shortage problem. The government forces citizens to pick up groceries on certain days of the week depending on social security numbers. It still sells staple items, such as corn flour, at extremely low prices.

It has also hiked the minimum wage three times this year, though inflation is expected to outrun any wage increases. The IMF forecasts that prices will rise 720% in Venezuela this year.

Related: Venezuela is inching closer to default

A national poll published earlier this year found that Venezuelans lost 19 pounds on average in 2016 due to food shortages. Venezuelans line up for hours outside supermarkets, waiting to buy the most basic items.

Venezuela must ship in almost all the food it needs after the government severely mismanaged farmland that it nationalized. The very low, fixed prices on everything from corn flour to coffee have put many farmers out of work.

Compared with 2015, food imports from Venezuela's top trade partners were down 61% in the first five months of this year, according to Panjiva, a trade research firm.

"We're looking for creative solutions in the socialist vision," Maduro said.

-- Osmary Hernandez contributed reporting to this article
CNNMoney (New York) First published September 14, 2017: 11:43 AM ET

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Be aware of 'rabbit fever'.

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Maduro says U.S. sanctions on him and over 20 of his officials have exacerbated the crisis. The Trump administration also recently banned U.S. banks from buying newly-issued bonds from Venezuela's government and the state-run oil company, PDVSA.


A good idea in any case.

Explain to me again the rabbit that has almost six pounds of meat? I know they make some big ones in Europe but South America?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:33 am 
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Six pounds isn't unusual for a rabbit.
That is on the hoof, not dressed.
This is a good site for a quick explanation of 46 rabbit breeds. - https://www.thespruce.com/rabbit-breeds-1237186

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:35 pm 
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Venezuela is ditching the Dollar, that has often been a prelude to some further events :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-15/venezuela-begins-publishing-oil-basket-price-yuan


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