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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Venezuela Eyeing Military Takeover

Posted by Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

The price of socialism.  The price of what the Democrats are seeking in America, and what California is plunging into has devastated Venezuela.

As Venezuela sinks further into crisis, new forms of protest have emerged both inside the country and abroad.

The number of dead is piling up, partly from starvation, and partly from clashes with police.

They blame the rich, the corporations, and capitalism.  But, it is socialism that is killing them.  The political system fails wherever and whenever it is tried.

Chaos.  The chaos has reached such a level that the people are seeking an end to all of this, and the military is one possibility.

The protesters are beginning to target the young men serving in the military, while others see the iron fist of military rule a possible way to get food on the table.  In Venezuela, the money is worthless and the food is in short supply.  Blame is being thrown in all directions.  Is it the fault of the communist government?  The opposition?  The rich corporations?  The United States?  Or is it their own fault for falling for the lies of socialism?

President Nicolas Maduro has expanded the military's authority.  As in the past, it is the military that is the most important pillar in keeping the socialist administration from collapsing.  Now, however, the military is the only thing keeping Maduro, the successor of Hugo Chavez, in power.  However, the loyalty of the military is wavering.

In April, three lieutenants publicly rejected Maduro as commander in chief and sought asylum in Colombia. Another lieutenant in a restive western state cut up his official military ID card as supporters cheered. "Soldiers must not turn their arms on the people," he said. Days later, he was in military prison.

"The country is unhappy with the situation right now, and the armed forces are no exception. The military has traditionally been on the right side of history here. If they turn, it's all over for Maduro," said Cliver Alcala, a retired general who participated in an unsuccessful 1992 coup led by a then-unknown junior officer named Hugo Chavez.

The problem is, the military taking charge is what brought this madness in the first place.  Chavez used it to rise in power.  But, now the military can also bring Chavez's dream of a socialist utopia to a merciful end, or plunge the country into worsening chaos.

A coup would devastate the region, and plunge the area into a conflict that could lead to many more dead.  But, some suggest dying in a fight is better than dying from starvation because of inaction.

More than a dozen military officers were arrested during the first two weeks of the protests and thrown into a military prison on suspicion of rebellion.

The government pampers the armed forces because they know that without the iron fist of the military, they all lose their power.  But, the meals for the troops are becoming smaller, and the money from their paychecks worth much much less.

The violence and inflicting injuries on their own people wears one down.  A standing army being used against one's own people sends messages, confusing messages, and eventually collapses under its own weight.  The soldiers, after all, are not mindless machines.  They are sons and fathers. . . citizens of Venezuela.

Maduro, in addition to using the soldiers as shock police, is even asking the military to help him rewrite the constitution, and to appear with him at televised rallies.  A great many men have become generals in the process.

Maduro says his soldiers have browner skin, but the opposition leaders and elite Venezuelans in general look more European, in an attempt to use identity politics to help his maintain his grip on power.  

So, while the soldiers are turning back angry crowds with tear gas and water cannons, how many of them feel the pain of the protesters?  How many are ready to turn against Maduro?  How many will abandon socialism, and join the protesters for the next step in Venezuela's history. . . a step that may move Venezuela towards a free system of liberty, or plunge the South American country deeper into the abyss of leftist totalitarianism?

When the meals for the military become nothing more than what the citizens eat, the turn may happen.  Starvation has an incredible influence on one's willingness to fight. . . if the person is not too weak to fight as a result from the hunger.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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