What little that remained of democracy in Venezuela continues to crumble.
8/4/17 –France 24 – Venezuela’s currency crumbles at dizzying speed – The value of the bolivar is shrinking fast.
On Thursday the bolivar dropped to 17,000 to 1 U.S. dollar.
The official exchange rate is 2,870:1.
The reporter interviewed an executive in a reinsurance business. That would be a professional level position. His salary is 800,000 bolivars a month. A year ago that was worth $200 and now it is worth $47.
Two pounds of rice costs 17,000 bolivars.
8/5/17 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuela’s New Assembly Fires Attorney General – Well, the slow-motion coup continues to roll forward.
At this point, it looks like the only sources of power to oppose the impending dictatorship are the Congress, the Attorney General, and people in the streets.
The recent election of a new Constituent Assembly which will shred the Constitution removes the now-departed Congress as a source of opposition.
The newly elected Constituent Assembly quickly replaced the Attorney General after the puppet supreme Court suspended her from office.
That removes the Atty. Gen., assuming the military and courts backup the coup effort.
That only leaves the people on the street.
8/9/17 – Associated Press – Venezuela’s New Assembly Declares Itself All-Powerful – The Constitutional Assembly that just was voted into existence declared that the Congress may not pass any law that is contrary to anything the Constitutional Assembly does, according to the article. That makes the new entity the superior power country. At least according to them.
8/6/17 – Reuters at news.trust.org – Venezuela says crushes anti-government attack on military base – Details are fuzzy in the extreme, but the government appears to have put down a minor uprising by a small number (6 or 12) military soldiers to supposedly attacked a military base and supposedly made off with some weapons.
8/8/17 – The New York Times – As Maduro’s Venezuela Rips Apart, So Does His Military – There are a few more signs that a few officers and some soldiers here and there are beginning to oppose the government.
The raid on a barracks over the weekend by a dozen or 20 soldiers who grabbed a few weapons is the most visible indication. Other reports suggest the soldiers made off with around 120 rifles and some hand grenades. Sounds like a lot but really is not very much if you want to start an insurrection.
One day last week the president promoted another 195 officers to general, making a total of about 2000 generals in the Army. Being a general is a big deal – it usually comes with special privileges for food and exchange rates. Many of the senior generals are given responsibility for some part of the economy, which means they have the opportunity to be very powerful and get filthy rich.
My reading of history shows that if authoritarian or dictatorial leaders want to stay in power they have to make sure the senior military have lots of privileges and lots of money. Looks like that is what’s going on in Venezuela.
The current and previous presidents have been purging any officers who appear to be potential opponents. In addition, for several years Cuba has been running the political officers in units and is in charge of the indoctrination training.