The End of Chavismo in Venezuela?

Frank Friday
President Obama is so busy doing nothing about Crimea and Ukraine, he has no time to make a show of doing nothing about the crisis in Venezuela. That may be just as well, since it appears the end may finally be coming for the “Chavista” rulers put in power by the late Hugo Chavez. With the most recent violence, even regime supporters are bailing out.
 
Related to that, it’s also nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio taking my advice from last year to forget immigration reform and concentrate on opposing the tyranny in Cuba and Venezuela. Rubio is uniquely positioned to lead American opinion here, because of his own family’s experience; the intelligent, Reagan-like passion he brings to the cause of freedom; and his Spanish fluency, which immediately gives him a global audience. (Unfortunately Ted Cruz, like a lot of American Hispanics, doesn’t habla Espanol)
 
The rats in Venezuela are also leaving the ship, that is, the Castro Cubans are looking to Brazil or some other sugar daddy, as it appears Venezuela is running out of petro-dollars.  Roger Noriega believes the Venezuelan central bank is now literally broke as virtually all of its remaining liquid assets are pledged to Red China to cover oil deals. Venezuela has seen its oil exports decline with the collapse of its petroleum sector due to socialist mismanagement and competition for Gulf refineries from North American sources. The only outlet left is China, which is expensive to ship to because of the distance.
 
Most tyrannies rely on a combination of violence and rewards to keep their people in check. Some like the demonic North Koreans are all about fear and violence, as they have almost nothing to give out in the way of rewards. But unless a regime has gone past the point of no return, like Syria, where the Sunni vs. non-Sunni bloodshed has made politics simply a genocidal fight to the death, a healthy level of benefits must be showered on government supporters to maintain power.
 
A lot of the conventional Venezuela analysis tends to dwell on the fact that perhaps 50% of the country still supports the current regime, but forgets this is a cash-and-carry constituency. The goodies are about to end, the currency is collapsing and there may soon be nothing even to eat. Bereft of hand-outs, the adoring crowds will lose interest and the rent-a-thugs will vanish.  
 
Venezuelan President Maduro and his Chavistas are swine, but they won’t have the stomach, nor the support of the regular military, to shoot all the people necessary to hang on to power. When that regime is toppled, the Cuban dictatorship is also in jeopardy. They are completely dependent upon the subsidy they get for sending abroad an army of government doctors, often poorly trained, and sometimes just communist spies, to earn hard currency for the Castro crime family at cut-rate prices. With their best customer, Venezuela, gone, where will they go? Uh… nobody tell Kathleen Sibelius about that last part.
 
 
Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, KY.
President Obama is so busy doing nothing about Crimea and Ukraine, he has no time to make a show of doing nothing about the crisis in Venezuela. That may be just as well, since it appears the end may finally be coming for the “Chavista” rulers put in power by the late Hugo Chavez. With the most recent violence, even regime supporters are bailing out.
 
Related to that, it’s also nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio taking my advice from last year to forget immigration reform and concentrate on opposing the tyranny in Cuba and Venezuela. Rubio is uniquely positioned to lead American opinion here, because of his own family’s experience; the intelligent, Reagan-like passion he brings to the cause of freedom; and his Spanish fluency, which immediately gives him a global audience. (Unfortunately Ted Cruz, like a lot of American Hispanics, doesn’t habla Espanol)
 
The rats in Venezuela are also leaving the ship, that is, the Castro Cubans are looking to Brazil or some other sugar daddy, as it appears Venezuela is running out of petro-dollars.  Roger Noriega believes the Venezuelan central bank is now literally broke as virtually all of its remaining liquid assets are pledged to Red China to cover oil deals. Venezuela has seen its oil exports decline with the collapse of its petroleum sector due to socialist mismanagement and competition for Gulf refineries from North American sources. The only outlet left is China, which is expensive to ship to because of the distance.
 
Most tyrannies rely on a combination of violence and rewards to keep their people in check. Some like the demonic North Koreans are all about fear and violence, as they have almost nothing to give out in the way of rewards. But unless a regime has gone past the point of no return, like Syria, where the Sunni vs. non-Sunni bloodshed has made politics simply a genocidal fight to the death, a healthy level of benefits must be showered on government supporters to maintain power.
 
A lot of the conventional Venezuela analysis tends to dwell on the fact that perhaps 50% of the country still supports the current regime, but forgets this is a cash-and-carry constituency. The goodies are about to end, the currency is collapsing and there may soon be nothing even to eat. Bereft of hand-outs, the adoring crowds will lose interest and the rent-a-thugs will vanish.  
 
Venezuelan President Maduro and his Chavistas are swine, but they won’t have the stomach, nor the support of the regular military, to shoot all the people necessary to hang on to power. When that regime is toppled, the Cuban dictatorship is also in jeopardy. They are completely dependent upon the subsidy they get for sending abroad an army of government doctors, often poorly trained, and sometimes just communist spies, to earn hard currency for the Castro crime family at cut-rate prices. With their best customer, Venezuela, gone, where will they go? Uh… nobody tell Kathleen Sibelius about that last part.
 
 
Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, KY.