Iran Making For An International Incident

A nation does not need to be a great one, to be a global one. That is a lesson playing out again this weekend.

New reports today that two Iranian Navy ships have rounded the Cape of Good Hope for the first time and are set to head off into the wild blue yonder of the Atlantic Ocean. An Iranian frigate and the Makran, a former oil tanker that was converted to a floating forward staging base are the ones being monitored hour-by-hour. The concern, is of course, that the sea voyage is to end in Venezuela.

The mission underway is perhaps the culmination of threats made by Iran for years that they would send warships to the West. The threats were always just bluster. While there is a chance the ships will disengage and return from whence they came there is also a strong possibility that an international incident is playing out.

At the center of the concern on this side of the globe is that Venezuela has expressed a desire to acquire ballistic missile technology from Iran.

It needs to be noted that it is unclear whether additional military hardware is onboard or what the final destination happens to be. But make no mistake about it, a successful crossing would be a significant demonstration of Iran’s naval capability, and would showcase their ability to have a foothold in this hemisphere.

That is why the words from the Biden administration need to be understood. They have issued a precise and stern warning to Tehran.

“The delivery of such weapons would be a provocative act and a threat to our partners in this hemisphere,” read a statement issued by the Pentagon. As such, we would reserve the right to take appropriate measures — in concert with our partners — to deter the delivery or transit of such weapons.”

The moves by Iran have consequences in Europe too. Any shipment of Iranian military hardware to Venezuela risks throwing the table upside down with the nuclear negotiations in Vienna. A move, this blogger need not remind readers, being necessary due to the dangerous and uneducated moves by Donald Trump in his single term in the Oval Office.

The next week will be telling about intentions, bluster, threats, and international policy.

And so it goes.

Juan Guaidó Is Face Of New Venezuelan Government

There is an odd feeling some have registered regarding events underway in Venezuela.  To support democracy in that South American country we have to support an un-elected person.  Some think that runs counter to democracy, and also to the process-oriented path that is central to a well-functioning government.

But the main counter-argument, and a most factual one, is that the last election in Venezuela was rigged and stolen.  President Nicolás Maduro jailed, exiled, or killed anyone standing up against him.  He had ballots destroyed.  Polling places did not open or changed location at the last moment.  Maduro is not any more duly elected to that office than I am.

Meanwhile, we have witnessed the courage and resolve of Jaun Guaidó who is willing to stand up for his people.  Maduro has strong security services and allies such as Cuba and Russia.  But Guaidó has a growing list of international supporters who are backing his bid to help save his nation from implosion.

It has been reported that Spain, France, and Sweden have all announced they are now recognizing opposition leader Guaidó.

There is certainly enough history to show that this region of the world can have despots.  But there are also enough reasons to know that placing hope in a better outcome is the only choice given the plummeting conditions now taking place under Maduro.  

With international support and attention there is every reason to hope that there can be a return of full democracy in Venezuela.  That means human rights, elections and no more political prisoners, as the Spanish Prime Minister underscored.  There is every reason to think that Guaidó will hold a new presidential election.

The news today from Europe is most promising.  There are now many nations, aside from the U.S., who have recognized Guaidó as the legitimate interim president. These include almost all of the nations of South America, along with Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Britain.

We can be happy that Venezuelan’s are trying to retake their political rights.  That is the most process-oriented result that we could ask for.  Now it should be our mission to assist them where we can, and in accordance with their desires.    

Do Cable News Channels Know Of A Place Called Venezuela?

After the all-news cable channels have regurgitated the latest crazy tweet from Donald Trump for the 25th time, or pondered the future of Nancy Pelosi for the umpteenth time, might it be possible to give any air time to–pick a place around the world?

But for this post let us select Venezuela.

In brief, here is the tragic story of the lives of those subjected to the actions of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

Hundreds of Venezuelans, some of whom walked 900 miles to escape economic disaster back home, saw their journeys abruptly halted this weekend on a frigid, remote border with Ecuador.

Like other Latin American countries hosting thousands of fleeing Venezuelans, Ecuador suddenly erected a new entry barrier on Saturday requiring in this case passports rather than the national I.D. cards they accepted before.

The standoff is part a growing backlash from some of the countries—among them Ecuador, Peru and Brazil—that have received 2.3 million exiled Venezuelan since 2014. The humanitarian exodus from Venezuela, hobbled by 1 million percent inflation this year, rolling blackouts and collapsing public services, has accelerated in recent months with increasingly poor people fleeing, say government officials in Colombia and elsewhere.

The plight of refugees came as Maduro’s government began on Monday rolling out a plan to raise the minimum wage by 6,000%, hike taxes and institute a currency devaluation—measures Venezuelans said would paralyze the economy and prompt more people to flee.

Cable news viewers would only come to know of such reports from the BBC, NPR, or national newspapers like The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.  It is truly amazing, and sad, that so much air-time is given to repeating over and over with different ‘talking heads’ the same headline.  Meanwhile there are places like Gaza, Turkey and a Greek island of Tilos which are making news which our nation needs to be aware of—

Meanwhile, did you know that Trump is not a good speller……..

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Has Entered “The End Stage” With Cancer

Dan Rather reports.

This reporter has been told that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive cancer that has “entered the end stage”. The information and the quote come from a highly respected source close to Chavez and who is in a position to know his medical condition and history. This source says the prognosis is dire and that Chavez is now not expected to live “more than a couple of months at most.” Chavez is running for re-elec tion in Venezuela but several sources–including the one who revealed the exact kind of cancer– have told me that they believe it is doubtful the dictator will live to see the results.

Voting is scheduled for October 7th.

President Obama Makes Inroads With Hugo Chavez Thanks To Being Diplomatic

I am a fan of diplomacy.  We do not need to agree with everyone or everything in order to talk.  But let us recall that it is not our friends that we need to hold talks with, as much as those with who we have different perspectives and viewpoints.  While FAUX News was having fun with the handshake between President Obama and President Chavez we all know that there are reasons we need intelligent leadership, such as we now enjoy.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez said Saturday he’s ready to send an ambassador back to the U.S., according to the Venezuelan government news service.

“I have spoken to Roy Chaderton — currently Venezuela’s ambassador to the Organization of American States — and I have appointed him as candidate for the embassy in the United States,” Mr. Chávez said. “Now we must wait for Washington to provide the authorization so he can take up the post.”

His tense, vitriolic relationship with former U.S. President George W. Bush has dissolved into one with Obama that has started with respect and even friendship. On Friday, Mr. Obama shook Mr. Chávez hands while the two were waiting for the inaugural ceremony to start.

“I want to be your friend,” Mr. Chávez said to the U.S. president.

Both leaders are doubtless still feeling their way around this new relationship.