After Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua

“We have no idea of the extent and depth of the way Venezuelan assets and resources have been squandered.” Photo: Nicolas Maduro holding a gold bar. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Miguel Henrique Otero, Madrid, 24 August 2019 — I agree with those analysts who argue that the end of the Maduro regime will have numerous consequences at the international level, which could be analyzed in several chapters.

For Bolivia governed by Evo Morales; for Argentina on the verge of returning to the corruption networks of the Kirchners; for Brazil’s Lula da Silva, imprisoned for corrupted; for the Ecuadorian fugitive Rafael Correa; for the populist exhibitionism o Mexico’s López Obrador; for narco guerrilla groups such as the ELN and the regrouped FARC; for different drug cartels from Colombia and Peru; for the partners of the circuits dedicated to the smuggling of fuels, wood, minerals, food and medicines, which operate across the borders with Brazil and Colombia; for the unscrupulous who enrich themselves at the cost of the famine of Venezuelan families; for beneficiaries like Venezuelan ex-guerilla Gustavo Petro; for the bunch of scoundrels who traveled to Caracas from different parts of the continent, to participate in the large banquets, spree and drunkenness of the Sao Paulo Forum, during the last days of July; for gangs that scam, steal, kidnap, exploit and subdue those fleeing Venezuelan territory, often without a coin in their pocket; for all these, things will be very different, because the coffers of Venezuela and the Venezuelans themselves will cease to be a source of loot that is distributed daily. continue reading

Not only on the continent, but also in other parts of the world there will be questions to review, reorder, investigate, eliminate, adjust, challenge or denounce. Hundreds of agreements, negotiated, exchanges or deals without legal support, contrary to national interest, violating the Constitution and the respective laws, which were made with governments or companies of China, Russia, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Turkey, Vietnam, India and some others.

Since 1999, agreements have been announced, trips by delegations, commissions, exchanges, signing of contracts, various works, creation of companies and infrastructure projects, which were not undertaken, which were abandoned shortly after, which were interrupted or that collapsed

Might we even have a brief idea of how much the trips of Chavez, Maduro, hundreds of ministers, thousands of officials, advisors, relatives, loved ones, assistants, friends, bodyguards, nannies, doctors, nurses, cooks and more have cost?

Do we have the right to know the amount of expenses incurred for the constant travel of Venezuelan officials to Cuba? Or those of Padrino López to Russia? Or, conversely, will it be possible to investigate and know how much the visits of Marta Harnecker, Juan Carlos Monedero, Maradona, Danny Glover, Ramonet, Hebe de Bonafini, Eva Golinger, and several other hundreds of communist parasites, usufructuaries of the Venezuelan oil industry have cost the Venezuelan nation?

I venture this: we really do not have an idea of the extent and depth of the way in which Venezuelan goods and resources have been squandered. Scholarships, donations, per diems, aid, air tickets, hotels, restaurants, advice, contributions for the most diverse purposes; all these total an amount unique in the world: billions of dollars. The destruction of national heritage is not limited to the great acts of corruption: there has also been a constant bleeding through these bureaucratic and frequent practices that, on another scale, are also corrupt and abusive.

As soon as the end of the dictatorship takes place, not only the less visible facts of the gigantic robbery operation that is and has been Venezuela’s “Bolivarian Revolution” will come to the surface: the acceleration of the collapse of the other two communist dictatorships remaining in Central America will also take place: that of the Castro brothers in Cuba — now under the care of one of their most servile officials, Miguel Díaz Canel — and the one headed by Rosario Murillo, Daniel Ortega and the rest of the members of the Ortega-Murillo cartel in Nicaragua.

Chavismo-Madurismo’s relationship with Cuba will constitute the most abundant chapter of corruption in these twenty years. There is probably no such case in the history of the world: that the governing power of a country has as its main economic policy to transfer, through all kinds of mechanisms, some of them openly illegal, the greatest amount of financial resources possible to another country.

Because it’s not just about the gift of crude and fuel oils. That is one part, the most scenographic operation of all, that prevents us from seeing the others. Chavez and Maduro have given Castroism control over key issues related to national security, business operations, imports, huge resources in exchange for services or advice that did not exist, financing the repair or reconstruction and even the construction of infrastructure, which disguised themselves as part of non-existent maintenance projects for highways, roads, schools and hospitals in Venezuela.

To a lesser extent, but using similar techniques, the regime, again with national monies, in an unqualified, illegal and secret manner, has financed the dictatorship of Murillo and Ortega, and has sent squadrons to repress and shoot their citizens. It has created mechanisms to launder money from corruption, and has been the driving force of similar policies to destroy the media and liquidate the citizen’s right to be informed.

First the dictatorship in Venezuela will end. And, once the diminished drip of resources is finished once and for all, those of Nicaragua and Cuba will follow.

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Editor’s Note: Miguel Henrique Otero is president and CEO of the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional .

The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.

The 14,000: The Venezuelan Regime’s Bureaucratic Disaster

Public sector doctors during a protest against the Venezuelan government. (EFE / Cristian Hernández)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Miguel Henrique Otero, Madrid, 13 August 2019 — There are 34 ministries with their respective ministers. 144 deputy ministers. 1.540 more people occupying positions classified as sector general director. Not counting Petróleos de Venezuela, the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana and Corpoelec, there are another 820 companies that are owned by the State. Read carefully: another 820 companies. Among them they have around 11,000 directors. These are approximately the positions of trust of the Chavez and Maduro regime: some 14,000 officials, members of the Central Executive Power, whose appointments have been published in the Official Gazette of Venezuela.

To these 14,000 officials is due, in the first place, the execution of the policies that have destroyed the Venezuelan public administration which, despite its chronic problems, had career professionals, technicians and experts of the first level, people trained with rigor and with a public service vocation. Most of these professionals, whose merits were evident in all institutions, were unknown, persecuted, harassed, dismissed or relegated to fulfilling tasks that waste and underestimate their abilities.

One of the most painful chapters of the destruction of Venezuelan institutions, undertaken by Chavistas and Maduristas, has been perpetrated against public officials, and this phenomenon, which has been massive and persistent over 20 years, has not been duly documented. The case of the 20,000 dismissals of Petróleos de Venezuela, which will one day have to be reversed, is just a chapter of the vile, disproportional, illegal abuse of power that has acted against Venezuelan public officials. continue reading

There are hundreds of thousands of personal stories, of Venezuelans from all regions of the country, in all the powers and levels of the vast world that we call the public administration — in that we must include governors and mayors — who were verbally veiled, their labor rights ignored, their social benefits stolen, their reputations tainted, their right to due process and defense violated time and again.

While Venezuelan public employees are, in some way, the sector of the population most exposed to power, captive of their obligations and hierarchies, they have been the first victims of the lawlessness and humiliation committed by the regime’s ’connected,’ civil or military.

Not only have they been impoverished, like the rest of Venezuelan society, but they have been forced to wear red clothing and attend marches and rallies. They have been imposed upon, under different threats, to sign communiqués, to enroll in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), to join in the policies of hatred and exclusion.

In the case of the military who were appointed in first and second level positions, the stories acquire grotesque and extreme proportions: brutes who have pretended to manage through screaming, threatening, insulting, dismissing and creating plots of terror.

But, and this is important, among those who remain — there are thousands and thousands who have the merit of having resisted and who continue to resist despite all adversities — and among those who were fired or resigned there is a potential mass of testimonies that will be fundamental for the reconstruction of Venezuela.

Public employees are the witnesses of thousands of appointments of incompetent persons to positions of high responsibility. It is they who have seen that mixture of ignorance and arrogance that is the predominant cultural sign of those put into these positions.

I insist: it is the Venezuelan public employees, active or not, who will report cases of nepotism, assault on per diem items, use of state resources for personal purposes, award of contracts to family members and frontmen, theft of the budgets, creation of chains of corruption in all areas where it has been possible.

The Chavista and Madurista bureaucracy is identifiable. It has signs that characterize it. I will list them below. It is, in the substantive, incapable. it does not know the subject for which it is responsible for making decisions. It takes office as a source of personal benefits. It excludes connoisseurs and surrounds itself with other ignorant people to have their own choir of praise. It practices impudence. It makes decisions against logic, forcing reality, and ignorant of the opinion of experts. To those who warn of or point out what it is doing, it accuses them of being conspirators, saboteurs and other insults.

The proof of what I affirm in this article is verifiable by the entire planet. There is nothing in Venezuela that has not been undermined, degraded, corrupted or partially or totally razed.

The 14,000 can be evaluated. Theft and devastation in the oil industry, in hospitals, in public services, in customs, in ports and airports, in SAIME (Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Foreigners, that is the civil registry system), in transport systems, in registers and notaries, in the education system, in cultural institutions, in prisons, in psychiatrics and centers for minors, in the 820 companies — those created by the regime and those that were expropriated — which remain as empty shells, with no other utility than being an opportunity for and an alibi for corruption.

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Editor’s Note: Miguel Henrique Otero is president and CEO of the Venezuelan newspaperEl Nacional.

The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.

The Multiple Ways the Maduro Regime Kills

Sign: “Studying While Hungry Doesn’t Work.” The author argues that “induced hunger has an advantage: it kills slowly without its victims joining the statistics of violent deaths.” (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Miguel Henrique Otero, Madrid, 19 January 2019 — The regime headed by Nicolás Maduro kills without a timetable. It does so throughout the national territory, during the day or at night. The process that consists in depriving Venezuelans of their lives is permanent. And for this it makes use of the most diverse methods, whose results are confirmed at distinct rates.

The method that reaches the greatest number of victims is undoubtedly induced hunger. Over two decades, Chávez first and then Maduro built an economic model, now in full swing, that operates on two premises: hunger and hyperinflation. continue reading

Simultaneously, they liquidated the value of the currency–reduced its purchasing power to nothing–and spread among millions of Venezuelan families the practice of eating less and less, progressively worse, progressively more sporadically. In the design of this perverse, gigantic operation, which has among its glorious antecedents the famines caused by Stalin and Mao, it has counted on the participation of advisors of Castroism and the political party Podemos.

From the plan to turn Venezuela into a State of Hunger, nothing has escaped: the School Food Program ended, productive farms and companies in the agroindustrial sector were expropriated to ruin them, entities have been created one after the other to make the acquisition and distribution of food impossible, the budgets that, until 1998, allowed the operation of soup kitchens and food services in hospitals, orphanages, centers for the elderly, prisons and other institutions have been devastated. A reality that is yet to be reported and photographed: the thousands of industrial kitchens that, throughout the country, are now in useless, rusty and filthy.

The most significant achievement of the “Bolivarian Revolution” in its intent of imposing a dictatorship is expressed in the politicization of the right to eat: the national identity card and the Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP) that, in particular, act under the most implacable logic of extortion: access to bags of food in exchange for political loyalty. The CLAP system is the most widespread method of humiliation and submission of the Venezuelan society.

Induced famine has an advantage: it kills slowly without its victims adding to the statistics of violent deaths. People — especially children and the elderly — lose weight, lose their body mass, weaken, fall ill and die. The structure of death works perfectly: when the afflicted citizen seeks the help of health services, he does not find it. Thus, the sick person becomes a kind of shipwrecked person: alone, lost, orphaned by the health care to which he is entitled.

To contribute to this politics of death, the regime first undertook one of its most impeccable operations: it destroyed the healthcare system. A perspective view of what happened, shows the multiple factors that were put into play: politicized the performance and operations of the hospitals, persecuted doctors and paramedics, who by thousands and thousands chose to flee the country; took the right measures to create situations of extreme shortage of medicines and hospital supplies; imported from Cuba, not professionals but pirates of the exercise of medicine; and stimulated the return of diseases that had been eradicated and that have acquired epidemic proportions.

They concentrated the purchasing systems in such a manner that it turned them into effective methods for corruption, acquired billion-dollar amounts of bad-quality medicines or counterfeit drugs, destroyed or stole the fleet of ambulances.

They ransacked the dispensaries of the health centers, created their own factory of incompetents under the name of community doctors, allowed the hospitals to become haunts for mafias and criminal gangs; and, if my count is correct, in two decades the so-called Ministry of Popular Power for Health has had, read closely, 17 ministers, one of the biggest posters for an executive power specializing in naming ignorants and thieves as ministers.

To double this process, insatiable and regularly sustained, of killing by hunger and disease, dozens and dozens of other methods are added, more apparent and occurring daily. They kill thousands of defenseless citizens, between 25,000 and 30,000 a year, at the hands of criminals who keep the cities and towns of the Venezuelan territory under control.

Drivers and passengers of vehicles die on highways full of potholes, without illumination nor road signs, in fatal and incapacitating accidents. Hungry people die after eating poisonous food — like bitter yucca — in their starving desperation.

Patients die in operating rooms and intensive care rooms as a result of the extensive and repeated failures of the electrical service. People die due to the lack of ambulance services and emergency care. Entire families die, dragged under by the mud and waters, on rainy days. Thousands and thousands of people die due to lack of medicines and supplies for chronic diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, HIV and others.

Venezuelan indigenous people die, struck by epidemics. Innocents who live in the neighborhoods of the country die, killed by gang fights or by police operatives or military bodies that shoot indiscriminately. Victims die by hired assassins in charge of the operations. Citizens such as Fernando Albán are killed in torture sessions. Political prisoners die who are denied medical attention. Thousands and thousands of Venezuelans die under the yoke of a regime that hates life.

Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria

Editor’s note: Miguel Henrique Otero is Editor-in-Chief of the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.

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The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.