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Montevideo, June 1st 2023 - 09:18 UTC



Venezuela Oil ministry and PDVSA come under military control

Monday, November 27th 2017 - 09:21 UTC
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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday tapped a National Guard major general to lead state oil company PDVSA and the Oil Ministry as the OPEC member labors under near 30-year lows in oil production. Read full article


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  • Jack Bauer

    “Quevedo will have to tackle corruption scandals....”....... really ? does that mean he'll have to tackle Maduro and his cronies ??
    Next Maduro move will be to officially create the drug-trafficking Ministry ...

    Nov 27th, 2017 - 05:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    After 18 years of Chavists in power, it is now time for a new oil revolution and crusade against corruption? What does that say about Chavismo?

    It strikes me as a risky strategy for Maduro though. Perhaps he now needs military support to stay in power, but does the military need him? Give them enough power and they might decide it would be easier to simply run things themselves. It would be sadly ironic if Venezuela avoided right-wing military dictatorship back when all it's neighbours succumbed, only to have it happen later thanks to a socialist government.

    Nov 28th, 2017 - 05:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    This crusade against corruption just sounds like a strategy to keep on fooling the more ignorant part of the population, to gain time....Maduro can now claim to fighting it, but nothing will change, for the better.
    Perhaps the military, knowing Maduro would topple without its support, is 'upping' the price to remain 'loyal' the new ministry could be, in fact, a way to organize corruption more efficiently, to steal without raising so many red flags. In VZ, I think the military would embrace the ideology of any leader as long as it paid off...
    Here in Brazil, seeing political opponents change sides so often, you conclude that ideology has little to do with their ambition...they use ideology as a means to 'capture' the hearts and minds of those who think populism/socialism is a solution to all economic problems. Deep down they are all made of the same crap, and their sole ambition is to steal, to become rich as quickly as possible. Their ideology boils down to whatever makes it easier to combine stealing and being popular.

    Nov 28th, 2017 - 07:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Crusades against corruption in developing countries are often aimed at eliminating rivals and consolidating power more than anything else. The people attacked may or may not really be involved in corruption, but that's not the point of prosecuting them.

    You could be right about the VZ military, but I don't think you're completely right about the Brazilian politicians. Maybe they are all on the take and willing to pass laws for their paymasters, but there are differences in their policies. I don't think Temer is trying to pass the pension reforms in order to become rich as quickly as possible, or that the members of the Foro de São Paulo are only interested in making themselves rich. Ditto when politicians were trying to end recessions or reduce inflation, it seems clear they wanted to improve the whole country and no just their own bank balance.

    Nov 29th, 2017 - 06:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Regarding Brazilian politicians, and I'm not referring to only the 513 in Congress, but also to about another 50,000 nation-wide (in state and Municipal legislations) I'd say at leat 90% are corrupt. It's what attracts them to politics...
    You're right about Temer...I think that after years of taking bribes in exchange of favourable legislation to businesses - many times owned by politicians - he's seen the chance to go down in history as doing the right thing to get Brazil on track, something that has never been high priority for previous presidents, due to the resulting to the members of the Foro de São Paulo, I have seen enough of them and their actions, to have no doubt whatsoever, that their prime goal is power, using the appeal of the “revolution of the people” to garner support, and once in, transform democracy into virtual dictatorship...look at Maduro...all he does is in the 'name of democracy'...cynical, isn't it ?
    And anyway, in any 'revolution of the people' , who are the ones leading the clamours for change ? definitely, not the 'people'...thay are always the means towards an end, carried out by the more ambitious and in detriment of those they claim to be fighting for....the 1917 revolution is Russia is a good example....what good did it do for the 'people' ?

    Just an interesting stat, to show how screwed-up social security system is, and is in need of urgent / drastic reform...the current cost of pensions, is about R$ 1,75 trillion / year ; 1 million retirees from the Federal sector, costs the State just over R$ 1,3 trillion (75%), while the 29 million pensioners from trhe private sector remain with R$ 450 billion (25%)...that is why Congress and the public lobby against the reform is so strong....not to mention that the current cost consumes 55% of all taxes collected by the Federal govt...after interest of R$ 275 billion on the internal debt, and stealing...there isn't much left for public services and/or investments.

    Nov 29th, 2017 - 08:48 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “And anyway, in any 'revolution of the people' , who are the ones leading the clamours for change ? definitely, not the 'people'.”

    That's true, but almost by definition. No matter someone's origin, once they have become a leader they are no longer one of the masses. Lula came from a poor background and that is one of the reasons for his popularity, since people see him as 'one of us' and hope that he will understand and address the problems they face. But in a society with poor social mobility it is rare for someone like that to rise to power, and in one with good social mobility there is little need for a revolution.

    I think the members of the FSP are much more motivated by their ideology than money, as it would be easier to get money by playing along with the rich multinationals and taking brides than by backing unpopular opinions. And I hope Temer's reforms really do get Brazil back on track and don't just help rich people like him and his friends. It's obvious the pension system does need reform, and those are some scary numbers. Plus having people retire so young means less workers to support the economy, which will be more and more of a problem as the population ages.


    I've seen the effect of modern technology on kids as well, and it's not helped by all the paranoia about paedophiles that makes parents keep their kids indoors. It was really rare to see fat kids when I was young, and now it's so common. I can't really talk though, I was always crap at sports and don't do enough exercise now. It's hard to get motivated when it's treated as such a chore.

    Don't think they let kids fight at school any more, but you can't do that to solve disagreements as an adult anyway! It does happen offline too, but people are much worse online with anonymity. I probably wouldn't post here if I had to use my real name.

    Dec 01st, 2017 - 05:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    No revolution “in the name of democracy / the people” has resulted in democracy or the good of the people...good ex., Cuba...Fidel ousted Batista, only to install his own, bloody, tyranny....latin-america is full of examples where the post-revolution period, taken as a whole, was worse than before.
    Lula owes his popularity to the mainly ignorant voters who identify with his gruff, ignorant, semi-illiterate the promise for 'real' change, which time has proven was not sincere ; IF he ever REALLY had the good of the people at heart (which I don't believe for a second), he soon learned how to play the elite, and become one of them...the PB scandal (initiated in his 1st term, btwn the PT & large contractors / construction Cos) proves that. Am not saying they were alone in this, as they weren't, and the PMDB became just as bad from the moment Lula took them into government to save his butt . His popularity continues strong in the NE, and for very simple reasons...ignorance and the fact that 1 in 3 families there, depend on the bolsa familia.
    The FSP's primary objective is power, using the socialist appeal that it will solve all problems (which we know is incorrect), and once installed, the secondary objective (which can't happen without the primary one), is to become wealthy....not just rich, but wealthy. Brzln politicians deviate dozens of USD billions of taxpayer money every year, reason why our public services stink, and there are no social investments wortwhile talking of.
    I really enjoyed sports, individual as well as collective, and am well aware that many see it as torture...but as you get older you'll realize it's important.
    Strangely enough, after having a punch up with your 'enemy' at school, you usually became friends, or at least maintained a respectful relationship.
    Agree, even if you aren't looking for enemies here, using your real ID would very likely cause you a few headaches. Too many nutcases walking around.

    Dec 02nd, 2017 - 05:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The US revolution worked out pretty well, and the French revolution certainly had it's problems but AFAIK most ordinary people were better off afterwards. We did ours too early for it to really be in the name of democracy or the people, and ended up restoring the monarchy, but the kings were a lot more circumspect after that and
    the change to a constitutional monarchy was made in the 'Glorious Revolution' a few decades later. I think there were a few others that turned out well like the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule.

    Those were mostly a product of enlightenment thinking though. The communist revolutions of the 20th century have all ended pretty disastrously. Though in the case of Cuba, sure it's poor, but is it that much poorer than it's neighbours? And have the people suffered more than those in say Honduras that has a massive drug gang and crime problem, or Argentina and Chile that had violent dictatorships?

    And I don't really know why Latin American countries had such problems after independence, though I've heard some theories.

    ”the secondary objective (which can't happen without the primary one), is to become wealthy....not just rich, but wealthy.”

    Seems like there are easier ways to become wealthy, eg through business like Macri or Trump. And plenty of non-socialist politicians get elected so it's not necessary for receiving bribes either. I'm guessing the ones who live in rural areas and basically buy votes with patronage are making the most from the system with the least effort.

    I imagine sports are more enjoyable if you're good at them. I'm not terrible at everything but I'm bad at anything involving a ball and that includes all team sports. I know I ought to get more exercise but it's boring and time you can't spend on other things. Don't know why it has to be so dull for adults when as a child you could get exercise just by playing.

    Dec 03rd, 2017 - 12:57 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Wasn't going back that far in time....however, those revolutions sure got the ball rolling, and were unique in that their ideals travelled the world....the ones I refer to are far more recent and are hardly examples to be followed - their ideals were anything but democratic.
    The main problem with the 'power-grabs' I had in mind, never for a second considered the well-being of the people. And as far as Cuba was concerned, I don't think the population would have been so enthusiastic to get rid of Batista had they known what was in store for them...loss of personal freedom and the 'privilege' of living in a police state...I'm sure Fidel's closest aides were handsomely 'rewarded', while the rest were just cannon fodder. ...besides, Cuba only only survived (until the 90's) thanks to USSR protection and subsidies.
    Sure, many of Cuba's neighbours didn't/ aren't doing any better, economy-wise...they had/have little or no industrial infrastructure, were/are corrupt as hell and plagued by revolutionary /terrorist movements, none of which gave two hoots about the people. And all in the name of democracy.

    When you read a bit about post-independence rulers in South America, as well as getting to know the mindset of its political class, you'll understand why we are in the situation we are.

    I'd say that becoming wealthy through business - honest, well understood - is far requires brains and hard work, two things rarely found in our politicians. One thing in common with most politicians here, is the ambition to become rich quickly, knowing that impunity is the name of the game. Times are changing but Congress is sure doing its damndest to maintain the 'old' status quo.

    I took sports seriously, and made the Brazilian athletics team in the '67 S.American championship....nationallity problems got in the way, so I was dropped, but later on played rugby for Brazil (against Argentina's “Pumas”...we lost, 100 x 3..).

    Dec 04th, 2017 - 09:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I suppose most of those later revolutions were inspired by the earlier ones, and tried to copy them, so why did they have such different results? That would include the wars for independence in Latin America, which I believe had some democratic ideals. Maybe the countries just weren't developed enough to support them.

    But the real question is, if revolutions rarely work, how to improve things in countries that have corrupt governments, or are already dictatorships? Because they aren't going to get better by themselves.

    Impressive. What event was that for in the athletics? We only played touch rugby at school. It was lame.

    Dec 05th, 2017 - 11:21 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Suppose the different outcome between the earlier / later revolutions, is due to the fact that the former were lead by men who ideals were more selfless, more noble.....they actually cared about building a great country...and were not hampered by so many ideological views.

    Some of the so-called national independence heroes in Latin America, were in truth just looking to become masters of their own noses and become wealthy. Local history books rarely paint the true picture, which is understandable, presuming it was/is important for them to have and respect their national heroes.
    To get rid of highly corrupt governments, and / or dictatorships, usually requires a bit of force...Brazil's military handing back power to the civilians in '85, without a fight, may be an exception.

    In athletics, my event was the 400 metres (440 yds/without hurdles) ; as such, I also ran the 4 x 400 metre relay ; in rugby I usually played 2nd centre or wing...but against the Pumas,
    the ball hardly ever reached me....frustrating, but an unforgettable lesson.

    Dec 06th, 2017 - 09:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I find it hard to believe people in the earlier revolutions were so much more selfless and noble than in the later ones. And the Lat Am ones were only about 40 years after the American one and 20 after the French.

    It's probably true that a lot of those leaders were more interested in the independence part than in democracy, but the US wasn't perfectly democratic when it was created either. I have heard the US was a lot better off than England in the same time period for not having a real aristocracy, and I think maybe the South American countries did have something like one, which might have affected their development.

    Shame you couldn't compete in the athletics; I looked up that year and the Brazilian women's team did well, but the men's not so much. Your rugby team has improved a lot since then too, but I guess the Argentine team is still better? It's pretty cool being good enough to compete at national level, anyway.

    Dec 06th, 2017 - 11:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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