Saturday, June 15, 2013

Colombia, Still Venezuela's Whipping Boy

Flying toward Venezuela?
Venezuela's opposition plans to fly 18 warplanes from Colombian territory and attack their country.

Venezuela's dictator-for-a-day, exiled in Bogotá since he headed a failed 2002 coup, is conspiring against Venezuelan Pres. Nicolas Maduro.

A group of 'paramilitaries' arrested in Venezuela are Colombians planning to assassinate Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.

And Colombian smugglers are shipping Venezuelan staples out of their country. 

Nicolas Maduro: Desperate?
Sound familiar? Can anybody guess Venezuelan Pres. Maduro's strategy to counter his numerous crisis, including widespread shortages and his own questionable political legitimacy?

A hint: It has to do with beating on Colombia.

Before he makes more wild charges, Maduro ought to think about providing evidence.

I'd like to know how anybody could purchase 18 warplanes in the U.S., sneak them into Colombia, get competent crews on them and then attack Venezuela with them - without observers catching on. And, if they accomplished this feat, I wonder what 18 warplanes could accomplish against a nation which has gone on a huge arms buying binge during the chavista years.

As for Pedro Carmona, the businessman who was appointed to head the coup government which
A man who's day came, and went. Pedro 'The Brief'
Carmona during his two-day reign in Venezuela.
overthrew Hugo Chavez for three days in 2002: he's become a non-entity. Perhaps he might possibly be conspiring from Bogotá, where he took refuge (altho Venezuela offers no evidence for this), but that would be pointless. Carmona failed utterly during the days when he had the opportunity to lead Venezuela. He lost all legtimacy and Venezuela's opposition has moved on. Even if Carmona IS conspiring, there's no reason to care.

The group of Colombian 'paramilitaries' sounds more interesting - but the Venezuelans have offered few details about this group. Where's the evidence that they were going to attack the Venezuelan government? Whom are they tied to, either in Venezuela or Colombia? This 'paramilitary' episode seems like a repeat of another one a decade ago when Venezuela arrested another group of supposed paramilitaries outside of Caracas. Those guys' motives and paymasters were never cleared up, and I suspect that this group's won't be either.

Colombian conspirator? A gasoline smuggler, known as a
'pimpinero,' fills a Colombian gas tank with
smuggled Venezuelan gasoline.
(Photo: Contralaluzcucuta)

But Maduro's complaints about contraband across the border are the most absurd. Venezuela subsidies many products, most notoriously gasoline, and places price limits on many others. The subsidies generate waste and the price control mean that farmers and factories stop producing, since it makes no sense to sell something for less than it costs to produce.

Maduro calls the subsidy and price control system a 'victory of socialism' - but it's a strange sort of victory, with shortages and lack of domestic production.

Pimpineros wait by a road near the
border with jugs of Venezuela gasoline.
Doesn't Maduro realize that, as water runs downhill, capitalism moves things from where they're cheaper to where they're more valuable?

Who can imagine that, with Venezuelan gasoline priced at a few cents per gallon, it won't get smuggled across the border into Colombia, where gasoline brings world prices? (By the same token, who can imagine that cheap cocaine won't get smuggled across the border into Venezuela and then on to Europe and the United States, where it's expensive?)

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

1 comment:

Stuart Oswald said...

It's always someone else's fault for their failure. When will these airheads realise that it is the damn evil and unnatural system they are trying to enslave the masses to, that is to blame. History will just carry on repeating itself, subjugating all to collective misery over and over again.