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Venezuela Behind the Headlines

Bleipriester

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Irish RTÉ Journallist Betty Purcell visited Venezuela and tells the true story behind the propaganda walls erected by terrorist cheering western media.

"Venezuela is a beautiful, sunny country, with some of the friendliest people I have ever met. But it is also a complicated place. To read much of the Western media, I expected a dour, crisis-ridden society with a population furious at an autocratic government. Instead, when I travelled to the country to observe local and governor elections on December 10th, I met talkative people itching to tell me the good and bad of their lives.

On the streets, marketeers sell tomatoes and corn, pineapples and bananas. But there are severe food shortages, including staples like rice and flour, and a chronic lack of medicines. The paradox is that the people who are most affected by these shortages are those least angry with the government. The families of Caracas’s overcrowded barrios voice their support for the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro.

It is people in the better-off areas, where the supermarkets have supplies, that are most anxious to tell international journalists of the discomforts of living in Maduro’s Venezuela. One man told me he has to travel to three or four supermarkets to fill his weekly shop. A woman told me with tears in her eyes of the queues to get vital medicines.

The reason the barrios are calm is because of an elaborate set of social supports received by the poorer citizens. Six million of Venezuela’s 31 million people receive food parcels to supplement their food every 3 to 4 weeks. Children are fed daily at school, both breakfast and dinner, and school attendance is up from 40% to 90%. Medicines are supplied according to need, albeit with long delays, through local health clinics. There are huge public building programmes, with 500,000 homes built each year. The subsidised social housing blocks feature the familiar signature of Hugo Chavez on their side wall, a reminder of the homelessness many experienced under the old regime. Public transport is good, if crowded, and petrol is almost free. A full tank of petrol costs less than the price of a can of soft drink.

As to the causes of the economic hardship, again, analyses differ. What seems incontrovertible is that forces both inside and outside the country, spearheaded by an ideological push from the United States, have inflicted huge hardship on the Venezuelan population through an economic and financial blockade.

Alfred Maurice de Zayas, the U.N. Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, recently concluded a mission to Venezuela, during which he met with hundreds of stakeholders. In his official statement, de Zayas records instances of “widespread sabotage of public property, arson against public buildings, hospitals and other institutions, destruction of electricity and telephone lines etc.”, as well as “hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.”

The statement also notes “multiple errors” in the government’s attempts to counter these economic difficulties, but the poorest citizens are protected through the food parcels distributed by local neighbourhood committees (the CLAPs). Spending an evening at a music session in the poor barrio of San Augustin, many people spoke to us about the importance of these subsidised food supports.

After allegations of election fraud a number of years ago, I was curious to see the operation of the system and how it would work in reality.

The body which organizes the elections, the National Electoral Council, showed us the voting machines which electronically transmit the vote of the electorate in great detail. Made in Taiwan, they are triggered by individual fingerprint, making multiple voting impossible. Anonymity is ensured by the separation of the fingerprint from the ballot cast. The voter receives a printed receipt of their vote, which is then placed in a separate ballot box. This allows a paper audit of the electronic vote. Over 50% of votes are audited in this way, as a back up to the electronic vote.

It is a sophisticated system, and seems impossible to fraud. In the queues to vote, I spoke to voters for both government and opposition. They told me what they thought. Some anti-government voters were critical of the main opposition parties who were boycotting the election. This left them with less choice as to who they would vote for.

Later that evening, after the ballots closed at 6pm, we attended the paper count of the vote, which is observed by witnesses for the candidates running, both government and opposition, and is open to the public.

The vote was announced later that evening, after a paper audit of 54% of the boxes, which is carried out at the polling booths across the country. The results were a huge win for the socialist government party, the PSUV. Of 335 mayoralties, they won 305 and the one governor position, in a ‘first past the post’ system. They garnered 70% of votes, while the opposition candidates received 30% of votes. The result was underwritten by a high-level delegation of the Latin American Council of Electoral experts (CEELA), which included former Colombian Electoral Court President Guillermo Reyes, and the former Heads of the Electoral Supreme Courts of Honduras and Peru. They said the electionreflected “peacefully and without problems, the will of Venezuelan citizens”.

But that’s only part of the story. The observable technical truth of the vote ignores one big issue: the boycott of this election by the major opposition parties. South American journalist and author, John Otis, recently arguedthat the tactic of not running in these less important elections may leave the opposition undermined when it comes to the crucial presidential elections next year. The opposition, which could represent up to half of the voters, needs to unite around one credible candidate to have a chance of success. At present they are in disarray.

Caracas has the highest homicide rate in the world. It also has its beauty spots. After taking the cable car up to a mountainous walking area above the city, I chatted with families out enjoying the famous hot chocolate of Venezuela. Political arguments are fiercely contested. One couple told me that Maduro’s policies were causing children to starve in the barrios. But they were not from there, they hastily added. Others proudly showed their bags with pictures of Hugo Chavez on them, and said their children could look forward to lives of dignity and progress. As I watched the indoor ice skating and street theatre, it struck me that things are a lot more complicated in Venezuela than we in the West have been led to believe.

The presidential election could be held as early as March or April of this year. The world will be watching that contest with real interest.

Betty Purcell is a broadcasting journalist, who worked for 33 years in RTÉ. She also produced Vincent Brownewith TV3. She is the author of Inside RTÉ (2014) and Light After Darkness: an Experience of Nicaragua (1987).

For the last 4 years she has been a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. In 2017, she travelled to Venezuela as part of a group of International observers for its December 10th elections."

Venezuela Behind the Headlines
 

irosie91

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ruling government controls the assets AND the impoverished MASSES with freebies--------bread and circuses-------it ain't nuffin' new Capt. Blei . The Ayatoilets got into power the same way------and they control the
impoverished of Lebanon and the Houthi pigs of Yemen----THE SAME WAY.
 
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Bleipriester

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ruling government controls the assets AND the impoverished MASSES with freebies--------bread and circuses-------it ain't nuffin' new Capt. Blei . The Ayatoilets got into power the same way------and they control the
impoverished of Lebanon and the Houthi pigs of Yemen----THE SAME WAY.
What´s your nonsense in the face of the US´ or Israel´s poverty rate?
 

irosie91

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ruling government controls the assets AND the impoverished MASSES with freebies--------bread and circuses-------it ain't nuffin' new Capt. Blei . The Ayatoilets got into power the same way------and they control the
impoverished of Lebanon and the Houthi pigs of Yemen----THE SAME WAY.
What´s your nonsense in the face of the US´ or Israel´s poverty rate?

I don't see the connection ---------in fact, there is no connection
 
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Bleipriester

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ruling government controls the assets AND the impoverished MASSES with freebies--------bread and circuses-------it ain't nuffin' new Capt. Blei . The Ayatoilets got into power the same way------and they control the
impoverished of Lebanon and the Houthi pigs of Yemen----THE SAME WAY.
What´s your nonsense in the face of the US´ or Israel´s poverty rate?

I don't see the connection ---------in fact, there is no connection
In fact the private economy controls the assets in Venezuela. Similar shit in Yemen, were Saudi Arabia starves the entire people while you blame it on the Houthis.
 

irosie91

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ruling government controls the assets AND the impoverished MASSES with freebies--------bread and circuses-------it ain't nuffin' new Capt. Blei . The Ayatoilets got into power the same way------and they control the
impoverished of Lebanon and the Houthi pigs of Yemen----THE SAME WAY.
What´s your nonsense in the face of the US´ or Israel´s poverty rate?

I don't see the connection ---------in fact, there is no connection
In fact the private economy controls the assets in Venezuela. Similar shit in Yemen, were Saudi Arabia starves the entire people while you blame it on the Houthis.

Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia. You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen------the SHAYKH always wins ----because the role of the VILLAGE SHAYKH----(in Yemen usually called the IMAM)-----is modeled on the life of muhummad. The village chief OWNS ALL------including the villagers and
EVEN MORE SO-----the local dhimmis . What else is new? I am fascinated that in your world----Yemenis have been eating in the tents of Saudi arabia
 
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Bleipriester

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Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia besieges Yemeni ports and bombs the population.


You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen
I am talking about Venezuela. There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure on the government.
 

irosie91

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Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia besieges Yemeni ports and bombs the population.


You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen
I am talking about Venezuela. There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure on the government.

oh-------there are local imam/shaykhs in Venezuela too
 
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Bleipriester

Bleipriester

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Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia besieges Yemeni ports and bombs the population.


You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen
I am talking about Venezuela. There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure on the government.

oh-------there are local imam/shaykhs in Venezuela too
They are called mayors.
 

irosie91

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Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia besieges Yemeni ports and bombs the population.


You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen
I am talking about Venezuela. There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure on the government.

oh-------there are local imam/shaykhs in Venezuela too
They are called mayors.

oh----the mayors are hoarding the food in Venezuela? I did not know---
you got a citation?
 
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Bleipriester

Bleipriester

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Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia besieges Yemeni ports and bombs the population.


You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen
I am talking about Venezuela. There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure on the government.

oh-------there are local imam/shaykhs in Venezuela too
They are called mayors.

oh----the mayors are hoarding the food in Venezuela? I did not know---
you got a citation?
Where did I write the mayors do, honey?
 

waltky

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Venezuela calls early election by April 30th...
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Venezuela calls early election, Maduro to seek second term
Venezuela's Constituent Assembly has backed plans for a presidential election before April 30, months ahead of schedule. But neighboring countries say the move to allow Nicolas Maduro a second term lacks legitimacy.
Venezuela's National Election Council has been authorized to set an exact date for the next presidential election after the Constituent Assembly — a body dominated by supporters of current leader Nicolas Maduro — approved plans for an early vote. Delegates ordered the election to take place before April 30, seven months ahead of schedule — a move widely seen as allowing Maduro to take advantage of disarray in the country's opposition despite a worsening economic crisis. The 55-year-old's opponents, who have called for his resignation over what they call his power grab and mismanagement of the country's oil wealth, said the decision came as a surprise.

Maduro confident

Maduro said on Tuesday he was ready to seek re-election if the ruling United Socialist party selects him at a convention on February 4. "They (National Election Council) should find the closest date, to get this out of the way so we can begin to make a great revolution," he told supporters. The vote had been slated for December, to allow the government and the opposition to agree a peaceful atmosphere, following months of angry and at times deadly protests.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro​

Maduro was handpicked by his longtime predecessor Hugo Chavez, who ruled Venezuela from 1999 until 2013, and who died from cancer while in office. Top party official Diosdado Cabello confirmed to the Assembly that Maduro would be the party's sole candidate. But the former bus driver and union leader's unpopularity rating has risen to 70 percent after inflation in the oil-rich country climbed to double digits which led to shortages of food and medicine.

Struggling opposition

Despite the opposition forming a coalition called the Democratic Union Roundtable (MUD), it has been unable to capitalize on Maduro's woes, and suffered defeats in regional and municipal elections. Several prominent politicians were barred from office or forced into exile last year following deadly protests seeking the president's removal, which resulted in the deaths of 125 people. Nonetheless, opposition leaders say they will field a single presidential candidate to challenge Maduro. Venezuela's constitution demands a new six-year presidential term begins in January 2019. The opposition and government have been holding talks in the Dominican Republic for several weeks to try to agree a free and fair election, complete with the participation of foreign observers.

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CrusaderFrank

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Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia besieges Yemeni ports and bombs the population.


You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen
I am talking about Venezuela. There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure on the government.

It's never Socialism's fault
 

irosie91

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Saudi Arabia neither feeds nor starves Yemen-----Yemen has been food insecure for more than 1000
years unrelated to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia besieges Yemeni ports and bombs the population.


You are right to say that a "private" economy controls Yemen
I am talking about Venezuela. There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure on the government.

oh-------there are local imam/shaykhs in Venezuela too
They are called mayors.

oh----the mayors are hoarding the food in Venezuela? I did not know---
you got a citation?
Where did I write the mayors do, honey?

you wrote " There is a food economy that creates the shortages to put pressure
on the government" --------are you PERSONIFYING the "FOOD ECONOMY"???
like "IT" has a mind of its own-----along with nefarious motives? What does "IT"
want from the government? (I will never step into my local grocery without
TREPIDATION again)
 

waltky

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Gettin' out while the gettin's good...
icon11.png

Venezuelans rush to Peru to beat passport deadline
23 Aug.`18 - Venezuelans trying to emigrate to Peru are rushing to get there before Saturday when new rules will come into force requiring them to have valid passports.

So far, Venezuelans have been allowed to enter Peru with just their ID cards. Many have been waiting for their passports for years with the authorities blaming "mafias" inside the registry services for the delays. More than two million Venezuelans have fled their country since 2014. They are fleeing a severe economic crisis which has led to severe shortages of food, medicine and basic goods.

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Some Venezuelans who do not have money for the bus are doing the journey on foot


Many of those fleeing the country say they are doing so because they cannot get the operations and medical care they need. On Thursday, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi urged Peru, and Ecuador, which already put a similar measure in place on 18 August, to "continue to allow those in need of international protection to access safety and seek asylum". According to UN figures, 26,000 entered Peru in 2017 but Peruvian migration chief Eduardo Sevilla says many more have arrived since.

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Venezuelans trying to make it to Peru have been bedding down by the Pan-American Highway


He puts the number of Venezuelans currently in Peru at 400,000. Peruvian Prime Minister César Villanueva said requiring Venezuelans to show their passport at the border did not mean that Peru was "closing the door" on Venezuelan migrants. He said that Venezuelan ID cards did not provide enough information and could easily be forged. Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio said Peru would issue "humanitarian visas" to Venezuelans in "exceptional" cases such as those of elderly people, pregnant women and young children.

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Venezuelans who managed to get on one of the buses laid on by Ecuador showed their relief


He said Venezuelans could apply for the visa in Peruvian consulates in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador or even at the border crossing in Tumbes. Mauricio Aparicio, who left Venezuela for Peru told Reuters news agency: "I came here because of the harsh poverty that we Venezuelans are going through in Venezuela, because of the economic crisis, in search of a better life, to have a way to help my family." "My father is sick with stomach cancer. As you know, you can't find medicine and, if you get them, they are at a high price," he said.


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