I hoped to post this yesterday but spent more time on the phone than expected. I've been talking with my friends and business contacts in Venezuela; there is consensus; I have been talking with my 'in-law' family, many of whom were 'Chavistas', only a couple remain so. Since December more and more people are leaving, everyone I spoke to is either renewing/applying for/have already got their passports sorted...just in case. "While upper-class Venezuelans have been trickling out for years, the exodus appears to have stepped up after Chávez's resounding electoral victory in December" (photo) The president has since ramped up his divisive rhetoric and began purging the government, his political party and even the military of anyone who is not aboard his project for "21st Century socialism.'' [Link]
This is worrying, I mentioned the other day about the tame militia that has sprung up everywhere but he has also 'indoctrinated' the armed forces: Phil Gunson of Open Democacy writes..."Venezuela's revolution is leaving democracy behind":
"At all levels, it is required . . . to raise the flag that says 'fatherland, socialism or death,' '' the president told a military audience last month, adapting a phrase from one of his mentors, Fidel Castro. "If anyone doesn't feel comfortable with this, it's better they retire from the [military] service.''
"He has unchallenged personal authority over the armed forces, which now bear the name of his own movement ('Bolivarian', after independence hero Simón Bolívar)and whose generals now routinely proclaim 'motherland*, socialism or death!' (in violation of a constitutional ban on their involvement in politics)."
"Newly bought Russian-made fighter jets streaked through the sky as Chavez shouted "Down with the U.S. empire!" to thousands of red-clad oil workers, calling the state takeover a historic victory for Venezuela after years of U.S.-backed corporate exploitation."
...but now, almost immediately imports are arranged [Link] no doubt just to spite the US; Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said, "They've tried to use (biofuels) for intrigue, to divide our countries, our leadership"!!! ...Doh!
"Substituting the consumption of gasoline with ethanol, produced from corn - it's true madness,"
"Chavez also said Venezuela may withdraw from the Organization of American States [OAS] if the group approved a resolution condemning his plans to shut a television station"... RCTV. So, if they dare to criricise him he spits his dummy!
He wants to build a socialist state based on policies rejected by the institutions in Washington
* In case you wondered, both Fatherland and Motherland apply to La Patria.