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Venezuela’s Maduro to visit Russia in October

Embattled Venezuelan leader looks to Moscow for continued support

Alexander Mercouris

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Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled President, faced with threats and sanctions from the US (in which Canada has now joined) and savage criticism from US President Trump, is intending to travel to Moscow in early October to attend Russia’s Energy Week.

It is a certainty that during his visit to Moscow Maduro will meet with top Russian officials, including almost certainly President Putin himself.

A little noticed fact is that over the last few months, as the economic crisis in Venezuela has deepened, Russia has quietly emerged as Venezuela’s major foreign investor and financial backer, with Russia’s state oil company Rosneft positioning itself to become a major investor in Venezuela’s oil industry.

Rosneft’s investments in Venezuela, though providing Venezuela with desperately needed foreign exchange, are not uncontroversial both in Venezuela and Russia.

Inevitably there have been complaints in Venezuela and elsewhere that Rosneft is taking advantage of Venezuela’s economic crisis to achieve a preponderant position in Venezuela’s oil industry – potentially one of the biggest in the world – whilst in Russia, given the unstable political situation in Venezuela and the certainty that any oil concessions granted to Rosneft will be set aside if the Venezuelan opposition comes to power, there have been questions about the long term wisdom of Rosneft’s investments.

Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s powerful CEO, however remains personally committed to Venezuela, whilst for Maduro and his embattled government financial and technical support from Russia and Rosneft, including to keep the oil industry going – which by some accounts is otherwise heading towards breakdown – is essential if a total economic and political collapse in Venezuela is to be avoided.

Maduro’s trip to Moscow in October is obviously intended to put a seal on the relationship.

At this point I would add a personal view, which is that supporters of Maduro’s government both within Venezuela and elsewhere consistently underestimate the extent to which Venezuela’s current economic crisis has been caused by the government’s fundamental errors of economic management.  By contrast there is far too much emphasis on Venezuela’s alleged external economic destabilisation.  Quite apart from the fact that before the Trump administration’s latest sanctions there was actually scant evidence of this external destabilisation, in my opinion this has had the bad effect of providing the Venezuelan government with an alibi, enabling it to excuse itself for its fundamental economic and political mistakes.

The result is that those mistakes – such as the government’s ruinous insistence on using its scant foreign currency resources to pay Venezuela’s external debt on time, instead of using these resources to pay for essential imports whilst seeking a restructuring – have been perpetuated.

These mistakes the government has been making have a variety of causes, but not the least of them is the absence of properly trained and experienced technocrats within the government, with the result that economic policy has been made emotionally on the hoof in an amateur way, often with disastrous consequences.

Russia by contrast has an abundance of highly qualified technocrats.  If Russia really wants to help Venezuela out of its crisis – which given the size of Rosneft’s planned investments in Venezuela it should do – arguably the single most useful thing it could do is provide Venezuela with the technical advice and support it desperately needs in order to stabilise its economy.

The fact that Venezuela has now apparently asked Moscow for help to achieve a restructuring of its debt may be a sign that this is finally happening.  This – as well as Rosneft’s investments in Venezuela’s oil industry – will no doubt be the subject of Maduro’s talks with the Russians in Moscow.

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seby
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seby

Looks like the hegemon is decaying quickly from a multipolar order.

ecald12
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ecald12

Excellent, and and correct, analysis in my humble opinion. Economic mismanagement has been pervasive, and is a major factor in Venezuela’s current economic quagmire. This situation goes back to the Chavez days. Also to be added is that rife corruption and nepotism, inherited as well from Chavez, is a problem which must be tackled if popular rule is to receive a solid footing.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal
Voltaire
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Voltaire

If the United States provides lethal weapons to Ukraine…

Russia should position nuclear armed submarines in Cuban and Venezuelan and Iranian territorial waters…

And arm the Taliban to kill as many US troops as possible as quickly as possible…

Guy
Member
Guy

I don’t agree with Alexander on this one.The Americans have been destabilizing Venezuela ever since the formation of the socialist party under Chavez and the oil resources were transferred to the state .The US administration has done this through their proxy state of Columbia and also through their big corporate ownership of the food industry by holding back food shipments in order to starve the citizens thus have them consider the alternative politicians for a win in the next election . Venezuela is a democratic country for those that do not know but it socialist ,and ideology that the West,especially… Read more »

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Yes to my shame as well, Trudeau needs a good kick in the “nuts” if he actually has any !!!!!!??

scanfish
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scanfish

That’s right. Mercouris is totally wrong on that point. Chavez and later Maduro’s main opponent has been Henrique Capriles, whose Justice Party is sponsored mostly by the NED and USAID, both CIA fronts, plus Soros’ OSF and US mega-corporations. The fact that Capriles is Jewish doesn’t hurt especially where it matters in having influential US zionists and neocons in your corner. Mercouris writes well but seems to have a blind spot for the not so obvious submarine political influence of sinister US forces and their imperialist agenda. In Venezuela, the US wants to revert to US control of its oil… Read more »

Guy
Member
Guy

The world has gone a bit crazy hasn’t it.Lets hope that some level of sanity returns to this planet , the propaganda is overwhelming .
Cheers.

scanfish
Guest
scanfish

The darkest hour is always before dawn. The sane of this world will not only overcome the selfish greed that seems to overwhelm the planet, but they will prosper. Cheers.

Constantine
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Constantine

Mistakes, even gross ones, may have been committed by the Venezuelan government and Maduro is no Chavez. But Mercouris is deeply at fault here in underestimating himself the extent of subterfuge in the country by the US government and local compradores. Much of that has been documented and it beggars belief that the obsessively interventionist neoliberal establishment in the US would tolerate an anti-US American, socialist government in Latin America that sits on top of huge oil reserves. I would definitely add that Venezuela is one of the few countries that have recognized the Crimean referendum and the unification with… Read more »

Barry Graham
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Barry Graham

I thought the Duran had informed people, but now it is clear that they do not.

Tommy Jensen
Guest
Tommy Jensen

Has Maduro got permission from Obama to visit Putin? Maybe, maybe not.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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Despite Pledge Not to, Germany Approves Sale of Arms to Saudi Arabia

Germany is the latest to renege on promises to ban weapons sales for use in the Yemen War.

The Duran

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Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com:


With Saudi Arabia forever escalating their war in Yemen, the growing calls by human rights groups to stop selling them arms with which to commit war crimes are struggling to compete with the vast sums of money the Saudis are offering for those arms.

Germany is the latest to renege on promises to ban weapons sales for use in the Yemen War, announcing Wednesday that the Economy Minister has greenlit a new round of artillery systems for sale to the Saudis.

The systems are designed for precise counterattack, and are clearly being bought explicitly to use in Yemen. Yet the Merkel government, as part of its coalition deal, announced a full export ban to “any sides fighting in Yemen,” including the Saudis.

While this was at the time supposed to be a condition of the Social Democrats joining the government. So far, Merkel has not explained why the sale was approved over the putative ban, and the Social Democrats have not complained either.

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