Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Stark Decay of Venezuela

"We're going to turn ourselves in!"
"They are firing at us with grenade launchers, we said we were going to surrender and they don't want to let us surrender, they want to kill us."
"I want to ask Venezuela not to lose heart -- fight, take to the streets. It is time for us to be free, and only you have the power now."
"It's the zero hour. The true way to pay respects to those who've died is for this dictatorship to fall."
Oscar Perez, rebel leader, Venezuelan regime of President Nicolas Maduro
Oscar Perez video
Oscar Perez, a Caracas police pilot, reads his manifesto calling for rebellion, in a video posted online on June 27, 2017. (YouTube)

"Despite all the attempts to achieve a peaceful and negotiated surrender, this heavily armed terrorist group started a sly and malicious showdown with security forces."
"In the face of an attack that put the lives of security officials at risk, the attacking group was neutralized using established protocols, with the unfortunate result of seven dead terrorists."
Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol

Members of Venezuela's intelligence service patrol Caracas as an operation to capture Oscar Perez, the Venezuelan helicopter pilot who dropped grenades on the Supreme Court last year during anti-government protests, is carried out on Monday.
Members of Venezuela's intelligence service patrol Caracas as an operation to capture Oscar Perez, the Venezuelan helicopter pilot who dropped grenades on the Supreme Court last year during anti-government protests, is carried out on Monday. (Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images) 

Once a 15-year member of Venezuela's forensic police, Oscar Perez, a  highly trained officer, pilot and dog trainer, has been the nemesis of the dictatorial Maduro in opposing the corrupt and brutal regime he leads, and whose influence with the people who thought of him as a hero for resisting the military forces he was once a part of, marked him for death. Described by the government as a "fanatic, extremist terrorist", Maduro claimed the entire nation was under attack by conspirators linked to the political opposition.

The group of Venezuelan rebels led by Oscar Perez was cornered, their presence revealed, bringing the death squad of the military within range of launching deadly grenades at them, giving them no opportunity to surrender, for that wasn't in the official plan. The security forces had their mission to conclude as they assembled around the rebel stronghold in the mountains outside Caracas, and they meant to carry it through to completion of that mission, as expected of them. The attack took place on a Monday.

The official announcement of the death of Perez and six of his supporters who vowed to fight to the death the tyranny of President Maduro, led inevitably to their inglorious death. And the sanctimoniously hypocritical explanation that followed on state television by the interior minister who added that two police officers also were killed, eight additional injured in this vital operation to destroy the aspirations of t hose who would unseat the legal government of Venezuela took place the following day.

Oscar Perez made his name as a latter-day James Bond, Venezuelan-style, by highjacking a helicopter from the CICPC, the forensic police he was once an integral part of, to fly it over and attack the Supreme Court while anti-government protests were in full sway. Protests because of sky-high inflation, mass unemployment, lack of food, of medicine, of people facing starvation as the next step up from malnutrition, in a general atmosphere of hopelessness and despair as the country continued to spiral downward.

While other countries with petroleum resources are taking full advantage of rising oil prices, Venezuela cannot because its long-neglected infrastructure is decaying and it no longer produces the refinery products that once made it wealthy enough to support neighbouring states less well off, even mischievously subsidizing heating oil to poverty-stricken Americans during the Bush era when Hugo Chavez spoke of the scent of the devil emanating from G.W. What he was scenting possibly was the stench of his own inadequacy in the failed Bolivarian Revolution.

His chosen successor has ably demonstrated that whatever Chavez the Venezuelan hero of the poor and the downtrodden could get wrong, Maduro could contrive to make even more dysfunctional while in the process enriching himself and his supporters at the expense of those who protested their misery in remembrance of the once-prosperous country that they recall. They are no longer the envy of their neighbours; they now crowd over the border to their neighbours in a desperate attempt at salvaging their lives.

The economic crises sees a rise in malnutrition and preventable diseases. During the four months of daily demonstrations, at least 120 Venezuelans have died. But of course the reason is explicable, since their president claims the country has been victimized by an "economic war" foisted on the country by political adversaries, exacerbated by economic sanctions thanks to the evil machinations of the United States.

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