The standoff at the farm El Peonío, Zulia state, Venezuela, between some farmers and Chávez military, ended with Chávez sending an envoy to offer a huge payoff. Given the rumors that the military had to be led by Cubans since the Venezuelan officers refused to use military force to confiscate the land from a farmer in their own country, and the rumors that FARC terrorists were also leading the confiscations at many of the other 46 farms, the logical conclusion is that Hugo Chávez is standing increasingly alone.
After the election loss he is using the lame duck session to introduce full-fledged totalitarian rule, another clear sign of weakness.
Persistent rumors have it that a large majority of the Venezuelan military is against him. His use of Cubans in the recent actions suggests that he really is afraid that they might disobey him. Perhaps even rebel against him.
In this situation Venezuelans have banged pots this evening (twitter hashtag #cacerolazo is leading in Venezuela now), as a signal to judge how widespread the wish for a regime-change is. The same method was used in Iran and there it lead to the overthrow of the Shah.
Chávez has clearly demonstrated that he is not willing to accept democracy. He is not respecting the results. He is using every dirty trick in the book, and some not yet in the book, to sabotage the fundamental principles of democracy, including that of free speech. He has turned himself into a full-fledged dictator – and the courageous people of Venezuela are responding to the provocation by organizing a forceful defense of democracy and the rule of law.
El Peonío was not the end of this fight. It was not even the beginning of the end. It was just the end of the beginning – as Churchill might have put it. Tomorrow new actions are planned.
Here I will report new developments in Venezuela as I hear about them. If not stated, times are in Eastern Time (GMT -5; Venezuela is GMT -4.5). Read the earlier blog posts for the background.
18:00 ET: The calm has returned to Caracas, after the riots on the Nueva Granada Avenue earlier today (photos above, below). From the farm El Peonio, it was reported 18:45 local time that the militaries were leaving.
At 17:35 ET, tweets speak of a helicopter overflying the finca El Peonio, and the gendarmes trying to enter wherever they can. This means that the Venezuelan government broke their own word in an agreement entered into at 09:00 today, see below. As general Angel Vivas wrote, one cannot negotiate with those people because they don’t have any principles, no honor, no values.
14:45 ET: Students have taken to the streets in Venezuela’s capital Caracas, according to tweets. Chavez responds to the opposition with words of civil war: “rifle against rifle” (fusil contra fusil).
13:30 ET: Live video from an ongoing meeting of the farmers. The farmers demand that all confiscated farms are returned to their rightful owners. They also denounce that the resources that are now used to confiscate the properties, including many helicopters, should have been used to save people from the recent inundations, but they weren’t.
12:00 ET: The newly created Zulian Front for the Defense of the Constitution (Frente Zuliano en Defensa de la Constitucion) has held a press conference. They say that the confiscation of the 47 farms has nothing to do with food production, but is only a way to undermine the social fabric in the state of Zulia, the social network of farmers that can be a counter-force. This, in my opinion, is precisely the reason why Stalin killed the farmers of Ukraine, which provoked the infamous starvation in 1933.
09:00 ET: The deal is, according to Globovision, that starting at 10:00 local time, the agricultural institute INTI will start to inspect that the farm is producing. The reason given by Chavez for the confiscation (what he erroneously calls “expropriation”) was that the farms were not in production.
08:30 ET: New twitter handle to look for, #mollejero, a local word in Venezuela, originating from Zulia and the “guajiros”, that means both ‘fight’ and some complicated mess. Pretty appropriate for this day, with military confiscation attempts of a huge dairy farm at 6 o’clock, with farmers meeting to plan actions at 8 o’clock, with an announcement of a front for democracy in the state capital of Maracaibo at 11 o’clock, and is if that is not enough, new heavy rains that have again made several bridges impassable. Un verdadero mollejero.
Globovicion, the last surviving regime-critical TV channel in Venezuela, has been in the farm since early in the morning. General Estrada and a colonel entered the farm to speak with the owner, Jesus “Chucho” Melean. Reportedly they negotiated that the military is shown around to see that it is in production. Personally, I see this as a way for the military to scout out the area to plan for actions. As general Angel Vivas wrote, one should not negotiate with communists; chances are production is not the real reason for the confiscation.
At 06:22 local time they called from the farm that army had arrived, and shortly after the following tweet came from congressman Juan Romero, “JuanBRomero”: “Inicia la toma de la finca 2 El Peonio de Chcho Hernandez en #surdellago, 20 vehiculos oficiales intentan con personal armado ingresar” (The overtaking of the finca 2 El Peonio of Chcho Hernandez in #surdellago starts, 20 official vehicles with armed personnel try to enter)
22:40 General Angel Vivas tweets that the operation will start within hours, and that they have already set up roadblocks to prevent help or media from arriving to the finca.
At 22.20 the farm called for URGENT help and for media. Media tried to get there but were blocked. Critical events unfolding but little or no information is getting out. (Source TiaPanaYo)
Around 22:10 ET, more vehicles arrived and continued directly, tweeted TiaPanaYo. The photo above was taken of one of them.
Around 20:30, @TiaPanaYo tweeted “Me acaban de informar que 2 Jeeps mas 1 tanqueta estan llegando. Pero si van a El Peonio, deben pasar a 100 mts de mi casa. Saliendo!” (I was just informed that 2 jeeps and one armored personnel vehicle are arriving. But if they are going to El Peonio, they have to pass within 100 m from my house. They are leaving!” A few minutes later, General Angel Vivas (who has sought direct message contact with TiaPanaYo, I assume since she is on location and he cannot get there with his knowledge from Caracas) tweeted, “Recomiendo a los ciudadanos no se emocionen demasiado, todavía,… recuerden que el comunismo es mentiroso,cobarde y traidor ¡TRIUNFAREMOS!” (I recommend the citizens to not get too emotional yet… remember that communism is lying, coward, and treasonous. WE WILL WIN!)
At 18:15 or so, the following was tweeted by Jose Meza: “El frente Zulianos por la Constitución presentará mañana un documento a las 11:00 am en el Colegio de Abogados de Maracaibo”, i.e., “The Zulian Front for the Constitution will present a document tomorrow at 11:00 AM in the Colegio de Abogados in Maracaibo [lawyer’s association]”.
Around 18:00 ET the following tweets were sent by “@josegremeza Jose Meza”: “En El Peonío no hubo tiros ni palos. Sí, toque de tambores. Representantes del Inti o de la GN no han vuelto (vía @TiaPanaYo)”, “Más de 100 personas de diferentes ámbitos se reunieron en Maracaibo para crear un frente de defensa de la Constitución”, “En Maracaibo mañana a las 11:00 am se presentará oficialmente el frente de defensa de la Constitución #surdellago #Mollejero”. In translation, “In the Peonío there were neither shots nor sticks. Yes, drums playing. Representatives of INTI [the agricultural department] or of the National Gendarmes have not returned”, “More than 100 persons from different walks of life got together in Maracaibo to create a front for the defense of the Constitution”, and “In Maracaibo at 11 AM tomorrow the front for the defense of the Constitution will be officially presented.”
At 15:12 ET this tweet reply was written by “@AngieRod Angie Rodríguez” to the question what is going on in #surdellago: “@marialuisarios hay presencia militar y concentraciones pero ningún enfrentamiento” (“there is a military presence and gatherings [of people] but no clashes”).
This blog post by Daniel at 15:00 explains, or at least highlights, why you don’t find anything about this ongoing crisis if you Google news from Venezuela.
Tweet from josegremeza Jose Meza ca 14:03 ET: “Mañana asamblea de productores agropecuarios a las 8:00 am en Santa Bárbara para determinar acciones” (“Tomorrow meeting of farmers at 8 AM in Santa Barbara to decide on actions.”)
Tweet from josegremeza Jose Meza ca 14:00 ET: “En Maracaibo se reúnen a esta hora representantes de diversos sectores para crear un frente de defensa democrático” (“In Maracaibo representatives of diverse sectors are gathering at this time to create a democratic front of defense”).
Tweet from General Angel Vivas at 13:00 ca: “Solicito apoyo aéreo para trasladarme al sur del lago y unirme a quienes defienden la comida de Venezuela. Por tierra no me dejarían pasar.” In translation: “I am asking for help with air transport to south of the lake to join those who defend the food of Venezuela. They will not allow me to pass by land.”
Flyers are distributed today distributed calling for a general meeting Monday at 10:30 (10:00 ET) in Huasipungo.
General Angel Vivas is using Twitter to request help with air transportation from Caracas to the area south of the lake where the reclaiming of democracy in Venezuela has started. The following was just posted (my translation):
I am requesting air transportation assistance to move me and my campaign team to unite with, as soon as possible, to those in the regions south of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, who are defending the universal and constitutional human right to private property, and the food supply to all Venezualans; to those who defend the Constitution, the sovereignty, the independence, the democracy, and the liberty of all Venezuelans. I wish to join as soon as possible those Venezuelans and foreigners as well, who work for the greatness of Venezuela, and I wish to share their destiny, as long as they are determined to defend, WITHOUT ANY TYPE OF NEGOTIATION AND UNTIL THE ULTIMATE CONSEQUENCES, the guarantees that are given them the Republic founded in 1811, as it was perceived and founded by Fransisco de Miranda, Simon Bolivar, and our Liberators, but which is being destroyed by a group of traitors to the Fatherland who fulfill faithfully the instructions that emanates from Havana by Fidel Castro and the old murderous dictators who control power on cuba, whose main ambition for the moment is the total control of the immense economic resources of out Fatherland in order to project their their terrorist acts in all of the world and continue to attack democratic governments who are respectful of the laws, destroying their democracies, in order to sow the communist gloom and horror, while strengthening the international crime and terrorism. I find myself in the need to solicit help with air transport since by land I possibly cannot arrive in time or the forces that serve Fidel Castro may not allow me, since I am a man poorly seen by the Cubans and the traitors who are handing over our Fatherland to them. We must fight and win over the Cuban invader and the traitors against the Fatherland who serve their interests here in Venezuela. With invaders and traitors one should NEVER negotiate.
General Ángel Vivas
Here is the Spanish original:
Solicito apoyo aéreo para trasladarme con mi equipo de campaña, a unirme, lo más pronto posible, a quienes en la región del sur del lago de Maracaibo, Venezuela, defienden el derecho humano universal y constitucional de la propiedad privada, y la comida de todos los venezolanos; a quienes defienden la Constitución, la soberanía, la independencia, la democracia y la libertad de todos los Venezolanos. Deseo unirme lo más pronto posible a todos aquellos venezolanos y extranjeros de bien, que trabajan por la grandeza de Venezuela, y deseo correr la misma suerte que corran ellos, siempre y cuando estén resueltos a defender SIN NEGOCIACIÓN DE NINGÚN TIPO Y HASTA SUS ÚLTIMAS CONSECUENCIAS, las garantías que le dan la República fundada en 1811, tal y como fue pensada y fundada por Francisco de Miranda, Simón Bolívar y nuestros Libertadores, la cual esta siendo destruida por un grupo de traidores a la PATRIA que cumplen fielmente las instrucciones emanadas desde La Habana por Fidel Castro y el grupo gerontocrático de asesinos que controla el poder en cuba, cuya mayor ambición actual es controlar totalmente los inmensos recursos económicos de nuestra PATRIA para poder proyectar sus acciones terroristas en todo el mundo y continuar atacando gobiernos democráticos y respetuosos de las leyes, destruyendo sus democracias, para sembrar las tinieblas y el horror comunista fortaleciendo el crimen y el terrorismo mundial. Me veo en la necesidad de solicitar apoyo aéreo para el traslado pues tal vez por tierra no pueda llegar a tiempo o las fuerzas que sirven a Fidel Castro no me lo permitan, ya que soy un hombre muy marcado por los invasores cubanos y los traidores que le están entregando nuestra PATRIA. Hay que luchar y triunfar en contra el invasor cubano y los traidores a la PATRIA que sirven a sus intereses aquí en Venezuela. Con invasores y traidores JAMÁS se debe negociar.
If you are interested in knowing more about the general, and speak Spanish, visit his blog and read a comment by a Honduran soldier who served under him when clearing mines in southern Honduras, a work for which the general was decorated by the country of catrachos (scroll down to find it).
Man vet aldrig när Historien börjar. Kanske den börjar i det område som i Venezuela kallas Sur del Lago, söder om sjön (Maracaibosjön), och kanske tidpunkten är just nu. Idag på morgonen lokal tid bestämdes sig invånarna i Santa Barbara för att gå ut i civil olydnad. Bakgrunden är den breda attack mot demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter som president Hugo Chávez påbörjade i förra veckan. Droppen som fick bägaren att rinna över var konfiskationen av tjogtals mjölkgårdar i det nämnda området igår. Endast en stod emot, då de hundratals anställda kastade ut militären och polisen.
Flygbladet säger bland annat: “…vi får inte tillåta att åratals arbete och uppoffringar under generationer förstörs…” och slutar med uppmaning till “allmän kamp” för att för att försvara framtiden för “Sur del Lago”.
Bakgrunden är att Chávez politiska allians förlorade parlamentsvalen nyligen, och den 5 januari tillträder det nya parlamentet. I samband med en svår översvämning som just passerat tog Chávez chansen att låta det utgående parlamentet ge honom 18 månaders rätt att styra med dekret, för att därigenom göra parlamentet maktlöst. Samtidigt togs översvämningen som ursäkt för att konfiskera stora landområden.
Alltså, istället för att hjälpa de drabbade bönderna konfiskerar Chávez deras mark för att de “inte brukar den”. Bönderna svarar att de brukade marken fram till översvämningen, och ber om hjälp istället för att bli utkastade av militärer från sina gårdar.
Tidigare konfiskerade gårdar har i stor utsträckning förfallit och ligger nu i träda. Det handlar ofta om jord som är olämplig för jordbruk, och som därför använts för boskapsuppfödning och och mjölkproduktion. På de igår konfiskerade egendomarna finns tusentals mjölkkor, vilka – om mönstret fortsätter – till stor del säkert kommer att slaktas och gå ur produktion.
Hur var det skämtet gick? “Kommunism: Du har två kor. Staten tar bägge, slaktar den ena, mjölkar den andra, och häller bort mjölken.” Månne Chávez trott att det är så det skall gå till? Månne han har uppfattat Stalins folkmord på bönder i Ukraina som ett revolutionens framsteg? Har han inte hört om de miljontals människor som svalt ihjäl, eller bryr han sig inte om hans landsmän svälter?
The uprising that started yesterday in western Venezuela, Zulia state south of Lake Maracaibo, was in reaction to the confiscation of large areas of agricultural land. The Chavez regime has during the last few years confiscated a large amount of agricultural and producing land. A significant amount of that has now been abandoned, leading to fears of lack of food, or even starvation.
This is of course precisely what happened when Stalin eliminated the farmers of Ukraine, the main grain-producing area of Europe; starvation in the entire Soviet Union. My grandfather was there as a visitor just after the confiscation, and understood that there were no farmers on the farm. They didn’t even know how to use a plow! A similar destiny can come to Venezuela if the people don’t rise up. Luckily, they are aware of the risk, and they are rising up for precisely that reason, as this article explains.
After Chavez confiscated grain-producing farms in western Venezuela yesterday, the farmers blocked roads. Tanks were called in to clear the roads, but more people joined the rebellion, Twitter being used for the rallying calls. Tweets this morning say that the authorities claim to have cleared the road, but the farmers are in a meeting as I type this, planning for new actions to retake the farms and avoid a starvation disaster in Venezuela.
It seems that this is a moment of truth for Venezuela. The number of people that take to the streets, and the success of a general strike called tomorrow, may determine the future of the country. This reminds me of the general strike in Finland, then part of Russia, in 1905. The whites and reds joined forces against a very repressive Russian regime – and managed to get democracy back. In fact, Finland became the first place where women could both vote and be elected to public office. Perhaps not entirely immaterial is the fact that someone murdered Bobrikov, a much hated governor sent by the Tsar of Russia. But I am digressing; the point is that when the people unites, not even the Tsar of Russia can stand up to it. And in Finland, unlike in Russia, they saved democracy – to this day. There is hope for Venezuela, but it requires that people take to the streets, peacefully.
If Chavez kills innocent people who refuse to move, he loses. If he doesn’t, they don’t move. That is the strategy.
Links: La Verdad (interview with a 94-year old farmer whose workers threw out the military, plus accounts of the thousands of cattle and hectares seized yesterday on dairy farms). La Nacion (“protests continue”). El Nacional (“protests continue”). Video of the minister of agriculture, pistol in belt, firing up the military and the mob before they went, allegedly assisted by the narco-terrorists in FARC, to expel Venezuelan farmers from their inherited lands.
Original text 19:48 – There have been twitter rumors for hours about a popular uprising south of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. The military was sent out to confiscate private farms but were stopped by farmers, led by 92-year old Jesus “Chucho” Melean. Later tanks were called for allegedly, but neighbours and students are joining the farmers, and an uprising has been called, according to twitter messages. Follow on twitter, hash tag #SurDelLago
Update 24:00 – During the evening twitter messages reported that tanks had been called in against the rebelling farmers. There were also reports that the uprising had spread to other cities, at least a half dozen. Furthermore, mass meetings have been called for tomorrow morning, at 8 or 9 AM depending on location. Finally, there was an urgent tweet less than two hours ago that a battle was ongoing at the finca El Peonio, from where the above photo was taken earlier during the day (image source: http://yfrog.com/hs6fmj).
Half a year after Zelaya was deposed as president in Honduras June 28, 2009, most Europeans had long since forgotten about it. Thinking it does not concern them.
They are wrong.
Honduras is one battlefield in a war. Perhaps one day we will be able to say that Honduras was the El Alamein, or the Stalingrad, of Hugo Chávez. However, most people are not even aware of what this is all about.
Basically, it is a conflagration of ideology and narcotics. Cocaine in this case.
Cocaine has several useful properties: It is extremely addictive; it makes the drug addict willing to take much larger risks than normally; it also makes him or her more willing to violate ethical, moral, and legal norms, including to commit murder; and due to being illegal, it can fetch a very high price.
Thus, cocaine is the commercial (although illegal) commodity of a business, while at the same time being a mind-altering drug that contributes to enable the people involved in the business to violate laws and moral norms.
However, most people cannot be made to act contrary to their deep-held moral beliefs regardless of drugs. That is where ideology comes in.
The ideology is the pretext, the excuse, that is required. It is the discourse that turns white to black and black to white, so that decent people can commit horrific acts without being destroyed by their conscience.
This is a network with links to governments, to guerillas/terrorists (depending on which side you are on), and to drug cartels. As written by Marianella Salazar, there are links between the FARC narco-guerilla in Colombia; the Chávez government in Venezuela; the ETA terrorist organization in Spain; and to Honduras.
Honduras is a critical point on the smuggle routes to North America. Since there is no road connecting South and North America, the drugs have to be transported either by boat or plane at least to Central America. A large number of such planes land in Honduras, and as has been reported in social media, reporting these flights to the proper authorities seems to have no effect – and may even be detrimental to ones longevity. Rumors from Honduras say that Zelaya was and remains involved. Half of all cocaine reaching the U.S. has passed Honduras according to recent estimates.
Another export from Venezuela goes to Europe. A recent study in Stockholm, Sweden, conducted by analyzing the sewage water, estimated that one in 1,000 were using cocaine. In London and Rome the percentage is higher.
The Europeans who use cocaine are also enabling the murders, the cynical use of people, the destruction of societies, and the perpetuation of poverty in Latin America.
It is not an organization but a network, which also branches out to Iran and islamist extremists and terrorists. It is a network that wants no attention to it. Journalists that get too close are murdered; Mexico has in 2010 taken the position as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, with Honduras as second.
Just like Medusa this network has many tentacles, and if any journalist looks too closely at it, little will remain of him but a gravestone. To defeat this Medusa, potential consumers – i.e., future drug addicts – have to be educated, before they try the drug the first time, about the horrible monstrosity that is hiding behind the chemical. But then again, that means that journalists must look at the monster…