Tag Archives: SurdelLago

Venezuelans Defend against Chávez’s Treason

A Russian base in Venezuela? They have delivered Suhkoi-30 advanced fighter jets, battle tanks T-72, and have signed a deal to establish a 200 km2 banana plantation south of Lake Maracaibo. In December the government under Hugo Chávez confiscated 47 farms of about that surface area around Santa Barbara. Sunday January 30 they are reportedly planning to confiscate houses and lots in Santa Barbara itself, perhaps to get housing for the Russians. The gendarmes (GN) are assisting with these confiscations. They call it expropriations, but they don’t pay compensation so it is really squatting, and there is no legal procedure involved. Just like Castro did on Cuba 50 years ago; in fact, Raúl Castro is to this day living as a squatter in a house that belongs to a friend of mine. All of this is of course blatant violations of the UN declaration of universal human rights. Many regular folks in Venezuela are determined to prevent this, to stand up to the military, and the live blog below is set up so they can post there tweets and photos in real time as events unfold. However, the real deal behind this is oil: In return for this banana contract the Russians got $1.6 billion worth of stocks in the Venezuela government-owned oil company PDVSA. Where are the oil reserves of Venezuela? Take a wild guess. Yes, much of it is around Lake Maracaibo.

Santa Barbara is located SW of Lake Maracaibo, about 90 km from the border to Colombia. It has a 2600 m airfield.

(The times are 30 minutes before Venezuelan time, 1 hour before ET.)

Photos of military operations in the area 2011-01-27 http://plixi.com/p/72828075 http://plixi.com/p/72822750

Update: Some breaking news regarding the fire in the INTI offices in Santa Barbara. The confiscations tomorrow include property belonging to a man who was arrested accused of having set this fire, so this news is very relevant. At the night of the fire some farmers, chavistas, were drinking in the INTI office with the head of the office. The farmers were expecting to get part of the land that had been confiscated, that’s what Chavez had promised. But that evening they found out that the land would go to a banana deal with a Russian company, and so they got mad. They went out to block a road, but there was no traffic at that time of night so they returned, observed by quite a few persons. That’s when they put fire to the office. When the firemen arrived the head of the office held them back, dressed in only underwear, pistol in hand. When he finally allowed them to extinguish the fire, when all the documents had burned (except his address book), they found a woman locked up in the bathroom. Since then about a dozen persons have been arrested, who all have one thing in common: They are in opposition to Chavez. Wait, they have two things in common. Neither one was there that night.

Footnote about the oil reserves. Swedish “moderate” (i.e. right-wing) newspaper SvD writes that “Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserve” but news that seeps out, pardon the pun, from Venezuela and Argentina suggests that there may be nothing more than politics behind those figures (“Do you remember the ‘mega-reservoir’ of oil that Enarsa found in Venezuela?”).

Budkaveln går i Venezuela

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.

Flyer distributed in Sur del Lago, Venezuela, 2010-12-19
Flygblad som distribueras i området kallat Sur del Lago, Venezuela, idag 2010-12-19

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?

Media: DN

Chavez is creating Stalin style starvation

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.

Abandoned confiscated land in Venezuela.
Abandoned confiscated land in Venezuela.

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.

Hacienda La Carolina a month before the government attacked.
Hacienda La Carolina a month before the government attacked.

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.