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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Michael Rowan: Paying for the Killing Fields in Venezuela
"The population is powerless against the siege because the regime seems willing to accept infinite numbers of deaths in the country in order to be left alone with its stolen treasures," writes political genius and Latin American expert Michael Rowan about Venezuela. "$300 billion has gone missing from the public treasury since 1999 -- the largest theft in the history of the Americas."

By Michael Rowan

The Venezuelan regime has launched a siege against its population. The regime’s weapons are food, medicine, and insecurity meant to starve, kill or silence the population. Sieges historically are waged by an enemy that surrounds the target in an enclave, but in Venezuela’s case, the siege is being run from a protected enclave of power and riches against a protesting population dying in the streets.

The population is powerless against the siege because the regime seems willing to accept infinite numbers of deaths in the country in order to be left alone with its stolen treasures. $300 billion has gone missing from the public treasury since 1999, the largest theft in the history of the Americas.

Nobody wants to own up to how much was stolen by the rich and powerful in the name of a revolution for the poor. Thousands of people have died over the years to cover up an ongoing criminal enterprise posing as a government.

A propaganda machine rivaling the wizardry of the Nazis promulgated the fake news of the revolution’s glorious existence, and does so to this day, as homeless children starve in plain sight and a homicide rate eight times larger than pre-revolutionary days is enjoyed by the people.

Truth be told, the propagation of a big lie is the only glorious achievement of the revolution. That lie is that there is a revolution. A few very rich and powerful Venezuelans still talk as if it’s true, but the vast majority of Venezuelans know the truth: there was no revolution, it was all a ruse to steal money from the public treasury.

The nominal revolution had nothing to do with socialism, nothing to do with capitalism, and nothing to do with Bolivar. That was all a cover for the largest heist in history.

Independent news media were suppressed, political opponents were imprisoned, justice was abandoned, tons of bribes were paid, and dissent was criminalized in order to protect grand theft.

It worked, even in the U.S., which likes to pretend it knows better. The revolution knew U.S. culture way better than the U.S. knew Venezuelan culture. As soon as the oil price allowed it, the revolution retained the highest paid lobbyists, advertisers, public relations, philanthropy and political alliances money could buy in the U.S., where just about everything has a price.

A brilliant if cynical stroke of genius was the revolution’s subsidy of home oil heating during U.S. winters. The revolution paid up to $200 million per year from 2006 until recently to deliver low-priced oil to hundreds of thousands of U.S. homes in seventeen targeted Congressional Districts where, not coincidentally, U.S. support for the revolution miraculously emerged.

The U.S. middleman for the oil distribution was a family member of the assassinated President Kennedy, adding his name to the revolution’s.

As a result of this public bribe, the U.S. looked the other way as Colombia’s FARC, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah’s terrorists, Russia’s dark weapons, and China’s money played fast and loose with a compliant revolution; and as human rights, democracy and institutions of law were trashed domestically. As the U.S. saw it, nothing unusual was going on.

In 2009, I wrote a book documenting the revolution’s war against American values and security, but the U.S. establishment did not want to take on Venezuela then, and nothing appears to have changed with the Trump Administration.

The end game in Venezuela appears to be generalized homicide. The country has become a killing field. Intentionally isolated from the world by the revolution, 90% of the population wants change but 100% of the power and money concentrated in revolutionary elites wants the status quo, and for good reason.

Those elites have nowhere to go and no place to hide their considerable haystacks of money if the revolution is tossed out of power. Cuba is not willing to be the safe harbor the revolution always believed it was. Countries in Latin America are not going to harbor known thieves over a new government that attempts to retrieve its rightful treasure. Iran, Syria, and North Korea are possible refuges but Venezuelans hardly know how to live there. Europe and North America are out of the question.

To protect rich power elites, millions of Venezuelans may be killed.

The military has been purged of counter-revolutionary members so there is virtually no hope of a military coup. The revolution has about one million individuals under arms – 3% of the population; they are in the military, the national police, the revolutionary civilian militia, and the armed motorcycle thugs in defense of the revolution known as collectivos.

Ideological control, spying and bribes, plus food, medicine, housing and fear incentives make a momentous task out of counter-revolutionary thought or behavior.

As long as the funds are available to support the revolution’s weapons on the street, blood will soak the ground of Venezuela’s killing fields.

Those funds have got to be dollars. The Venezuelan bolivar is worthless, suffering from runaway triple-to-quadruple digit inflation. It may be surprising to hear that over 90% of the dollars available to the revolution come from US consumers of the oil company CITGO, which the regime owns.

The U.S. has unwittingly become the only prop remaining for the revolution’s military and the killing fields. While ostensibly on the other side of every value and security interest of the revolution, and for decades, the U.S. is actually the key money source for the revolution.

Coincidentally, the revolution donated $500,000 to the Trump inauguration party in January. If Iran, Syria, North Korea or Russia had done that, there would be howls in Congress so loud you could hear them in Chicago.

But there’s not a peep in Washington about propping up the killing fields in Venezuela. There are resolutions and sanctions galore, but where it counts, the US is still paying for the bloodletting.

Michael Rowan is an author and political consultant who has advised presidential candidates throughout Latin America, including Governor Manuel Rosales in Venezuela, President Jaime Paz Zamora of Bolivia and President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica. In the U.S., he has advised winning candidates in 26 states. He has been an award winning columnist for El Universal, The Daily Journal -- predecessor to LAHT -- and the Latin American Herald Tribune since the 1990s. He is the author, with Douglas Schoen, of The Threat Closer to Home - Hugo Chavez and the War Against America.


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