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Could Venezuela Become The Next Syria?

Public Policy

Speaking of poor policymaking, hyperinflation and violence – Venezuela is sliding closer and closer to the brink of collapse, with some sobering consequences.

This was among the topics of conversation this week at the Mining & Investment Latin America Summit in Lima, Peru. While there, I had dinner with a couple of Canadian lawyers who represented a few Latin American oil producers, some of them based in Venezuela.

Things have gone from bad to worse, they informed me. Since 2013, when Nicolás Maduro took power after the death of Hugo Chávez, the socialist country has struggled with skyrocketing inflation, food and medicine shortages, a shrinking economy and rising violence and corruption. (Its capital city of Caracas recently overtook San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for having the world’s highest homicide rate.)

These have only intensified since oil prices fell by half more than two years ago, as oil accounts for 95 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings.

Venezuela’s shrinking economy

Now, President Maduro has effectively suspended a scheduled recall referendum, backed by the opposition-controlled National Assembly, despite as many as 80 percent of Venezuelans in favor of his removal from office. The suspension has led to widespread protests in the streets, with accusations of a coup being tossed around on both sides.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has effetively suspended democratic elections, spurring mass protests.

The fear, the lawyers said, is that if Caracas falls, the vacuum it leaves behind would serve as a prime terrorist base of operations—a Latin American Syria, as it were, complete with the world’s largest proven oil reserves to finance it.

We’ve already seen the country cozy up to fellow OPEC member Iran, recognized by the State Department as the world’s leading state sponsor of global terrorism. According to the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based international policy think-tank, Iran is “partnering with Venezuela’s drug traders and creating a foothold” in the Latin American country.

It’s such a travesty that a nation as resource-rich as Venezuela could allow itself to rot from within. Its descent into chaos should serve as just the latest cautionary tale to other countries that are willing to risk stability and prosperity for even more socialism.

18 Comments on "Could Venezuela Become The Next Syria?"

  1. onlooker on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 1:31 pm 

    Its already like Syria minus the internecine activity and bombing

  2. Keith McClary on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 2:12 pm 

    Things were similar stories about Libya in the corporate media before the regime change, but now all is well.

  3. .5mt on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 2:23 pm 

    It’s the Imperios economic war! Or viral stupid.

  4. eugene on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 6:27 pm 

    Other side of the fracking “miracle”. When you think only of yourself, nasty stuff happens.

  5. Robert Gillies on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 6:32 pm 

    I doubt it. Venezuela lacks the insane Islamic religious doctrine that is present in Syria. Nevertheless there will certainly be conflict.

  6. Cloud9.5 on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 7:36 pm 

    They have communism another insane religion.

  7. makati1 on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 8:22 pm 

    Cloud9, communism no longer exists in the world. You are decades behind the times. EVERY country is a blend of capitalism and socialism.

  8. HARM on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 10:25 pm 

    Funny how economic collapse and resource depletion are only a problem when it’s a country not friendly to US corporate, military and banking interests. As long as the dictator is “our son of a bitch”, everything’s peachy.

  9. makati1 on Sun, 30th Oct 2016 10:35 pm 

    Got that right, HARM. But you are not supposed to notice that fact.

  10. joe on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 12:45 am 

    Syria happened because Hillary allowed the CIA to go in and set up terrorist groups supplied by Libyas looted military hardware and thousands of SUVs supplied by Saudi and Qatar. Al Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq (future ISIS) all got a rebirth there. Venezuela may have civil unrest, but outside intervention will be the difference if it will be civil war. Venezuela also has the fortune of not being a neighbour of zionist led Israel.

  11. Theedrich on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 4:23 am 

    The obviously predictable Venezuelan result: more Spic sludge pouring into the U.S.

  12. george on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 6:45 am 


  13. rockman on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 1:11 pm 

    “…complete with the world’s largest proven oil reserves to finance it.”. LMFAO. Venezuela is having difficulty selling enough oil to keep its people from going hungry. And besides it can never become another Syria…not enough sand.

  14. DFW on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 2:37 pm 

    I was sent their to open US offices for a multinational and can tell you firsthand its a result of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Chavez promised the reverse and now some of the poor are the rich but they are doing the same thing to the rest of the poor. It will happen in ANY country if corruption is allowed grow like a cancer. Even in the US.

  15. Apneaman on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 3:52 pm 

    DFW, right on. Most people have no clue to how easily corruptible they are. Many in the upper and middle management world who are now corrupt facilitators of a corrupt national/global corporate state would honestly tell you they never would have believed they are doing what they are doing 20-30 years ago. “it just sorta happened”. I would more or less agree that it just sorta happened. More than any other factor is opportunity and reward. Most of these scum never started out like the way they are now, it was mostly a matter of chance by getting hired by the right/wrong company/bureaucracy. Once one says or goes along with the bending/breaking of the rules/law then they are screwed/committed. In for a penny in for a pound. Look at Hillary – many decades ago she started out as a genuine, change the world, do gooder liberal and became a totally corrupt, cynical, power hungry witch. All through their journey of corruption and malfense they must psychologically justify all their actions. Everyone does it to some degree. There is a great book from 2007 on all the clever ways the humans come up with to square these circles (cognitive dissonance) that is required reading for anyone who truly wants to understand how the humans work/their default settings.

    Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

    “It deals with cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias and other cognitive biases, using these psychological theories to illustrate how the perpetrators (and victims) of hurtful acts justify and rationalize their behavior. It describes a positive feedback loop of action and self-deception by which slight differences between people’s attitudes become polarized.”

    Part 1: Carol Tavris on Cognitive Dissonance and Consonance (9:38)

  16. Ernesto Guzman on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 7:35 pm 

    This has nothing to do with ideals or political systems this all about corruption to the highest magnitude. The so called socialist, Cuban, Chavistas/Maduristas once again lied to the people, the poor especially who they were being exploited by the rich “democrats” of the time (a two party system for 40 years). The Chavistas allow some of the money to percolate to the masses but they never invested in the future only on today’s mouth full. The have stolen about 11 Billion from the oil revenues of the last decade and now they are broke and in debt to China. The military Generals and other lower rank officers were brought in and were allow to enrich themselves with the drug cartel from Colombia turning the country into a major narco/traffic country. Venezuela’s PDEVSA one of the top oil companies in the world today is in shambles plus over 85% of the industry that used to produce goods internally were appropriated by the government. Today they produce nothing and all is imported. A way to make more money by overpricing the commission’s. Now that there is no more oil money coming in the people are dying of hunger and or for lack of medicines.

  17. Cloud9 on Mon, 31st Oct 2016 7:53 pm 

    Communism has never existed anywhere. Mak Communism is a secular religion that promises each will receive according to his need if only each will produce according to his ability. Every Communist will tell you that Communism failed in Russia and China and everywhere else it was tried because not enough true believers got on board. No matter how many millions of non-believers are slaughtered it still fails. That does not matter to true Communists. Theirs is a world built on faith and like all religions, faith begins where reason ends. Reality does not matter to utopian believers. The three phases of revolution have given way to the simple notion that mankind can be perfected if somehow they are all made equal. The fact that humanity is made up of very unequal individuals does not matter. All that matters is the Communist dream of equality. Communism may pass itself off as progressivism or socialism but it is still the same old tripe that the world can be perfected if only the central planners are given enough power to make everyone equal.

  18. John on Tue, 1st Nov 2016 7:15 pm 

    ExxonMobil & Rosneft discovered a HUGE new oil Provence in the Kara Sea (Part of Arctic Ocean) in September of 2014.

    The US Immediately too action to ensure that The Russian Government would not be able to realize the financial benefit of bringing this new basin online.

    -The US immediately imposed sanctions, barring US Corporations from exploring / developing oil in Russia &/or sharing Oil & Gas Technology with Russian Companies. Yes, the US Government forced Exxon to give their huge new discovery (that was though to have more oil than the entire Gulf of Mexico) back to Russia.

    -The US immediately too action to bring the price of oil down, making it uneconomic to develop Offshore Arctic Oilfields.

    According to ExxonMobil, the World has to find 5 (five) new Saudi Arabia’s worth of oil (in terms of production) in the next 25 years in order to meet demand. The US has decided that they do not want any of the new reserves/production to come from Russia. In order to realize this goal, the US has to force countries like Iraq, Iran, & Venezuela to increase their production rates.

    Iraq has/is increasing production because they are controlled by the US.

    Iran & Venezuela are being difficult & not cooperating with the US wishes of increasing production & holding prices down. Iran is a special case, but Venezuela’s refusal to cooperate means that it is time for Nicolás Maduro to be overthrown & replaced with a leader who is more apt to do whatever Washington tells him to…

    After all Venezuela boast 300 Billion BBLs of Proven Reserves (more than Saudi Arabia), but only produces 2.33 Million BBL/day.

    The social unrest, the food/product shortages, the hyper-inflation, & the general misery 30.41 Million Venezuelans is part of Washington’s strategy to overthrow the current Venezuelan Government & ultimately more crude oil to the world (without allowing Russia to exploit their new reserve base).

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