AuthorTopic: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis  (Read 54195 times)

Offline RE

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This the Illuminati's plan to begin a war with the US and Russia, until soon they will begin the nuclear war that will reduce the number left on earth to be 10,000 or something written on some ancient stone.

Except apparently the Ruskies have the same goal, getting rid of Maduro.

RE
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Offline RE

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🌍 NATO at 70: Not a happy anniversary
« Reply #721 on: April 04, 2019, 02:17:10 AM »
The Empire Collapses.



RE

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/437071-nato-at-70-not-a-happy-anniversary

NATO at 70: Not a happy anniversary
By Dov S. Zakheim, opinion contributor — 04/03/19 09:00 AM EDT


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is visiting the United States on the occasion of NATO’s 70th anniversary. He has met with President Trump at the White House, speaks to a joint session of Congress today, and this evening Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host a reception for him at the State Department. On Thursday, Stoltenberg will lead a meeting of NATO foreign ministers that also will be held at State.

Other than marking its anniversary, however, the alliance does not have much to celebrate. Despite his meeting with the secretary general, the leader of its most powerful member has little that is good to say about the organization. Another of its powerful members, the United Kingdom, is in the throes of national self-immolation. It has yet to determine how, and in what way, it will exit the European Union; in the meantime, it is becoming increasingly clear that whatever the denouement with the EU, Britain’s defense budget is unlikely to grow, and could well shrink.

Since the country already contributes barely 2 percent of its gross domestic product to defense, such a development hardly will endear it to President Trump, who is fixated on percentages. Perhaps that is how he views the nature of alliance contributions to the common defense.

Thus far, at least, Britain has reached the president’s 2 percent goal. Other NATO states are not faring nearly as well. According to the authoritative Military Balance that the International Institute for Strategic Studies issues annually, none of the other major NATO allies — France, Germany, Spain and Italy — reached the 2 percent mark in 2018. Germany, once NATO’s bulwark in continental Europe, managed to achieve only 1.13 percent, with no improvement over the previous year.

The pressures of feeding, housing, educating and providing for the health of thousands — and in Germany’s case, hundreds of thousands — of refugees from the Middle East promise to constrain military spending in these nations for the foreseeable future.

As if budgetary shortfalls were not enough to dampen NATO’s celebrations, the schism in the alliance wrought by Italy, Hungary and Turkey are far more threatening to its future cohesion. Hungary’s Viktor Orban has made much of his close relationship with Vladimir Putin, and has signed a number of cooperative economic agreements with Russia. The recently elected Italian government has proclaimed its own desire to reach out to Moscow.

Perhaps of greatest concern, however, is Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s determination to press ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense missile systems, the first time a NATO nation actually has acquired major systems from Moscow.

Washington has threatened Erdogan with cancellation of the sale of the F-35 Lightning II (better known as the Joint Strike Fighter) to Ankara. The Pentagon has halted the transfer of fighter equipment to Turkey, and on March 28 a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation to block the fighter’s sale. Turkey has a major stake in the F-35: its industry has participated in its development and production and is slated to play a role in sustaining both the plane and its F135 engine. Moreover, Turkey was approved for producing its own F135 engines and the city of Eskisehir was selected as the site of the F135’s first European maintenance facility.

Despite his country’s having so much to lose, Erdogan is pressing ahead with the S-400 buy, an indication of Turkey’s increasingly close relationship with Moscow. So, too, is Turkey’s cooperation with Russia and Iran to achieve a peace agreement in Syria, in what has come to be known as the Astana Process (named after the Kazakh city where representatives of the three countries met), even as the United States has been relegated to the sidelines of this tri-national effort.

NATO requires the consensus of all 28 of its members to act upon Article 5, which states that any armed attack against one member of the alliance is an attack against them all. Cozying up to Moscow on the part of Hungary, Italy and Turkey calls into question NATO’s ability to respond to a crisis, whether in Europe or outside it, in the face of Russian opposition. Given President Trump’s attitude toward NATO, even the United States might not necessarily be guaranteed to invoke Article 5 should Russia attack a NATO member.

NATO has survived many crises. For example, during the 1960s, tensions within the alliance rose as a result of American plans for a Multilateral Nuclear Force (MLF), the war in Vietnam and the coup of the Greek colonels. The late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed major European opposition to the proposed deployment of American Pershing and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM) on the continental mainland. The Iraq War prompted deep divisions between Washington and what then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld termed “Old Europe.”

One can only hope that NATO will get past its current crisis — in some respects the sharpest of them all. The United States, in particular, must trust that this will be the case. After all, America is the only country for which the NATO allies ever invoked Article 5 (after 9/11), and allied troops fought and died alongside those of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq for well over a decade. Hopefully, when NATO celebrates its 80th anniversary, the smiles and toasts will be genuine and not, as perhaps they are this week, artificial and forced.

Dov S. Zakheim is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and vice chairman of the board for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He was under secretary of Defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Department of Defense from 2001 to 2004 and a deputy under secretary of Defense from 1985 to 1987.
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Offline RE

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🌎 Venezuelans take to the streets as power struggle persists
« Reply #722 on: April 07, 2019, 12:58:51 AM »
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/venezuelans-streets-power-struggle-persists-190406075444885.html

Venezuelans take to the streets as power struggle persists

Thousands rally in Caracas in the latest rival displays for and against President Nicolas Maduro.
by Elizabeth Melimopoulos
12 hours ago


Opposition supporters in the Caracas neighbourhood of Petare [Elizabeth Melimopoulos/Al Jazeera]

more on Latin America

    Venezuelans take to the streets as power struggle persists
    today
    Venezuela braces for another round of rival protests
    yesterday
    Venezuela in crisis: All the latest updates
    yesterday
    Venezuela's health emergency: Calls for UN intervention
    yesterday

Caracas, Venezuela - Supporters and opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro are once again pouring into the streets of Caracas, the latest rival rallies to be held in the capital amid a protracted political crisis and rising anger over blackouts that have left millions without electricity and water.

Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim president and leader of the National Assembly, has asked his supporters not to get used to living in "darkness" while blaming high-level corruption and mismanagement under Maduro for the electricity outages.

Guaido has also held the government responsible for an exodus of people from the oil-rich country - according to the United Nations estimates, around three million Venezuelans have left since 2015.

"Look around you, we are not alone," Guaido told the pro-opposition rally in Caracas on Saturday. "Venezuela, look around, ... people are here, we are here fighting for our rights."

Earlier, opposition supporterLobelai Sandoval said she was marching "in the name" of her son.

"A son that this country has taken away from me, as he had to leave," she said, dressed in the colours of the Venezuelan flag.

"I am alone, thanks to this corrupted government that has left us in the situation we are today, and like me, there are many other mothers, many other families have split," Sandoval added.

"For how much longer can we carry on like this? We need to go out, we have to do it."
Government supporters near the presidential palace in Caracas [Elizabeth Melimopoulos/Al Jazeera]
'Can't let others take our country'

Across the city, government supporters were also taking to the streets for a "march in defence of peace", as Maduro labelled it.

The president, who has been in power since 2013 after the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez, accuses the United Statesand its allies in Venezuela of trying to force a coup against him, as well as for sabotaging the state.

Soner Boliviar, 50: 'I'm here to defend the sovereignty of my country, we are being threatened' [Elizabeth Melimopoulos/Al Jazeera]

"I'm going out to defend the future of my children and grandchildren," Elizabeth Ruiz, a Maduro supporter, said.

"No other nation can interfere in our affairs," she added.

"We can't let others take away our country - why would we allow them? This is the inheritance that our beloved President Chavez left."

The rival displays came days after Guaido said he feared abduction by the government after the Constituent Assembly on Tuesday stripped him of his parliamentary immunity and authorised the country's top court to prosecute him for proclaiming himself president.

The US, which has openly backed Guaido, has called for a UN Security Council meeting next week to discuss Venezuela's "humanitarian crisis".

On Friday, the US announced new sanctions on 34 vessels owned or operated by Venezuelan state-run oil company Petroleos de  Venezuela ( PDVSA), and on two companies and a vessel that delivered oil to Cuba in February and March.

"The United States will continue to exert all diplomatic and economic pressure to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy," Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech in Houston, Texas.

"Venezuela's oil belongs to the Venezuelan people," he added.

The sanctions were the latest by the US as it tries to choke off revenue for Maduro's government, which enjoys the backing of China and Russia.

Experts, however, have warned against the effect of these moves and urged for dialogue.

"We must push for agreements that can prevent this train crash," Luis Vicente Leon, an economist and analyst, said, referring to the deepening rivalry between Venezuela's government and opposition.

"If this is not resolved in a different way, this could end pulverising what remains of the country, businesses and infrastructure," he added.
Guaido stripped of immunity by Venezuelan legislators (2:19)
'This crisis is severe'

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the economy of Venezuela is estimated to have shrunk by more than 30 percent between 2013 and 2017. Last year, it is believed to have declined by 18 percent.

The Washington-based institution has also said Venezuela's inflation rate could reach 10 million percent by the second half of this year, exacerbating the country's economic crisis.

The collapse has made food and medicine unaffordable for most citizens, causing widespread malnutrition, especially among children, and a rise in preventable diseases.

On top of that, blackouts have knocked out water supplies and affected transport and communications.

"No matter how hard they try, Venezuelan authorities cannot hide the reality on the ground," said Shannon Doocy, an associate professor of international health at Johns Hopkins University, who conducted research at Venezuela's border.

"Venezuela's health system is in utter collapse, which, combined with widespread food shortages, is piling suffering upon suffering and putting even more Venezuelans at risk. We need UN leadership to help end this severe crisis and save lives."

William Alberto, 30: 'I'm here because the situation is just too [severe]. I'm not with the opposition, nor the government but we need to find a solution. If Hugo Chavez were here, he would not tolerate this [Elizabeth Melimopoulos/Al Jazeera]

Last month, the International Federation of Red Cross announced it was planning to increase operations in Venezuela to provide aid to 650,000 people. However, a UN report leaked to the media at the same time said that the number of people in need was close to seven million.

"This crisis is severe, we don't have the necessary tools," Vietnam Veras, a doctor in Caracas, said

"The state is not following through its obligation with the health system," he added.

"They say they don't have the resources - then, they should ask for help, make a call to the UN and do not let this chaos drag."
How can the political crisis in Venezuela be solved?
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Offline RE

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🌎 The Big Picture
« Reply #723 on: April 07, 2019, 02:03:10 AM »
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/04/06/the-big-picture/

The Big Picture

Eddison  Flame


There is a trend that seems to have been going on in the world for a pretty long time now. Rulers in the world have been actively suppressing a particular kind of social movement whenever and wherever it appears. These movements vary in name and in scale, but they are united in principle. In principle, what they all have in common is they are inspired by and founded upon principles of cooperation among people.

Consider for example the United States’ long standing anti-socialist policies toward Latin America. These have led the overthrow of one socialist government after another all throughout Latin America and for many years. Even now this policy has not changed, an overthrow attempt in Venezuela is ongoing. Commenting on the subject publicly in mid February Trump tweeted, “We are here to proclaim that a new day is coming in Latin America. In Venezuela and across the Western Hemisphere, Socialism is DYING…”.

Even more, as documented by Wayne Madsen for the Strategic Culture Foundation, a number of right wing leaders throughout south and central america have recently come together to form an official coalition whose purpose is to, essentially, combat socialist movements in the region. They seek to, “eradicate all vestiges of Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chavez, and Brazil’s wrongfully-imprisoned past president, Inacio Lula da Silva.”

Another example is the hippy movement of the sixties. This was a movement that, somewhat unexpectedly it seems, grew up right in our own backyard. This movement was also rooted in principles of peaceful cooperation among people, and it too was ruthlessly stamped out by our own government. As Richard Nixon’s chief of domestic policy stated in an interview with Dan Baum for Harpers Magazine:

    “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

There are many many more examples of this type of thing occurring throughout history, this fight against cooperative movements goes back ages. The real question is, why do they keep having to stamp these movements out? Why do they need policies aimed at combatting these kinds of cooperative movements? And why do these movements keep coming back?

It’s almost like, to them anyway, the world has contracted some kind of disease that keeps breaking out all over the place. Whenever they take their eye off some place, people start cooperating again, and they have to hurry in and smash those communities to bits before the cooperative ideas start to spread.

For them, this seems to be the crux of the problem. The cooperative paradigm is the better, more efficient paradigm. Why else would people keep doing it? Even when they know the U.S. will try to crush them, even now in Venezuela while the U.S. is actively crushing them, the people remain dedicated to socialism. Once people have seen how much better a cooperative paradigm is, they don’t want to go back to the competitive one.

We can do a little thought experiment here to illustrate the point. Consider the two paradigms. One group says society will be more efficient if everyone competes with everyone else. Another group says society will be more efficient if everyone works together. One group suggests that everyone will be better off if we all fight over everything, and whoever gets the most stuff gets to keep it all, and if someone doesn’t get anything at all, too bad. The other group says that if we all work together, we can ultimately accomplish much more and we can simultaneously ensure that everyone always has at least enough to get by.

Do we even need to analyze these alternatives? How can anyone with even a shred of intellectual honesty argue that people will get more done fighting amongst each other than they will by working together? It’s absolutely ludicrous! If these people weren’t actively trying to destroy us all the time, the situation would be quite funny.

The problem for us is, they are trying to destroy us all the time! These people are extremely dangerous. They are literally killing people in wars all over the world for profit. Their actual policy is to actively identify and destroy collectivist movements of any kind wherever they appear, and they do this using all kinds of brutal tactics. These people rule the world, and they have endless resources at their disposal. They are rich, they are powerful, and they are thugs.

Still, they have a problem. Their problem is that the truth is on our side. Their problem is that the cooperative paradigm is the better paradigm. This is why they have to keep stamping out movements whenever they pop up, because they don’t want the word to get out. They don’t want people to find out that a better paradigm exists.

This ties in to a related topic, that poverty is a feature not a bug of the current system. Poverty is actually a useful feature for the super rich. If you want people to do things that they would otherwise not want to do, you have to have some kind of leverage over them. You have to engineer a situation where if they refuse to do what you want them to do, then you can make them suffer. This is poverty.

If you want someone to work for long hours in an uncomfortable and unsafe factory, the alternatives have to be pretty bleak. They have to pretty much be living in abject poverty. In fact, for the rich capitalist, the more rampant poverty is, the more power he wields. If people are really poor, I’m talking on the brink of starvation poor, they can be convinced to do all kinds of horrible things for a just a bit money.

So this is the real reason why the rulers of the world are quick to stamp out such cooperative movements. These movements threaten to undermine their leverage, their control over the people. If everyone starts taking care of everyone, it could get to the point where all the people have enough to eat and a place to sleep. Then people will not behave like slaves anymore. If people are generally satisfied and taken care of, how can they be exploited? This is the problem for the capitalists.

Their greatest fear, by far, is that some cooperative ideology could take hold of the people everywhere. It would undermine their whole power structure. Without their leverage over the poor, the rich have no power.

Having said all that, here is the bigger issue I want to address. We need to recognize where we stand. We need to recognize the mortal danger these people represent to we the people. We need to recognize how they see us, not as people but as slaves. We also need to recognize that what these people value most is power, and that any attempt to free ourselves is, to them, a direct assault on that very thing they love the most.

If we were to free ourselves. If we were able to reshape society into a cooperative one, everyone would win, but in their minds they would have lost. They would have lost their control over society, which to them is the most important thing in the world. So this is not something they will allow.

Recognize too that they have seen the world this way all along. They have always considered us to be like cattle. Their job has always been to keep us at work and focused on anything but them. They have always well understood the stakes and what could go wrong for them. They have always known that if we did figure out what is really going on, then we might rise up against them. They are well aware of this, and they have always been prepared to put us back in line, (as quietly as possible of course, so as not to upset the rest of the herd).

So the point is this, they have always been fighting against cooperative ideologies, and they are prepared now to fight us again the next time we try to rise up. In fact, they have certainly seen the shifting tides. They are aware that people are waking up, and they have been making preparations for it. They are beginning to lock down the internet. The police all over the western world have been militarized. They are working hard to take away peoples guns. These people are preparing to go full authoritarian. They are preparing to lock down all of society. The question is, are we prepared to resist when they do?

Cover photo by Tiago Gerken on Unsplash.
The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff we publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for our website, which will get you an email notification for everything we publish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eddison Flame is an activist affiliated with several progressive organizations working in the field of ecosocialism.
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: The Big Picture
« Reply #724 on: April 07, 2019, 02:21:46 AM »
Quote
So the point is this, they have always been fighting against cooperative ideologies, and they are prepared now to fight us again the next time we try to rise up. In fact, they have certainly seen the shifting tides. They are aware that people are waking up, and they have been making preparations for it. They are beginning to lock down the internet. The police all over the western world have been militarized. They are working hard to take away peoples guns. These people are preparing to go full authoritarian. They are preparing to lock down all of society. The question is, are we prepared to resist when they do?


Get tech savy!  If the internet got locked down a renaissance of clever LANs could spring up and asynchronous bridging can communicate between networks swapping RSS packets.

Sounds good anyway.  A webpage on a short wave radio might be fun too.

At least I'm playing with balls. 

http://chasingthesquirrel.com/

See what I'm up doing.  Right now I'm learning how to use the d3.js library.  I'm being a total student.  The globe on my site is built with the help of the d3 library which turns out to be super useful.  It is OK because my blog project is actually on schedule!  D3 will be used to manage links besides spinning balls.  Digressing to learn this skill is well worth the trouble.

https://d3js.org/

Take a peek at what it can do.  For polls and charts it opens doors!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 02:33:34 AM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline RE

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Re: The Big Picture
« Reply #725 on: April 07, 2019, 08:14:01 AM »
Quote
So the point is this, they have always been fighting against cooperative ideologies, and they are prepared now to fight us again the next time we try to rise up. In fact, they have certainly seen the shifting tides. They are aware that people are waking up, and they have been making preparations for it. They are beginning to lock down the internet. The police all over the western world have been militarized. They are working hard to take away peoples guns. These people are preparing to go full authoritarian. They are preparing to lock down all of society. The question is, are we prepared to resist when they do?


Get tech savy!  If the internet got locked down a renaissance of clever LANs could spring up and asynchronous bridging can communicate between networks swapping RSS packets.

Sounds good anyway.  A webpage on a short wave radio might be fun too.

At least I'm playing with balls. 

http://chasingthesquirrel.com/

See what I'm up doing.  Right now I'm learning how to use the d3.js library.  I'm being a total student.  The globe on my site is built with the help of the d3 library which turns out to be super useful.  It is OK because my blog project is actually on schedule!  D3 will be used to manage links besides spinning balls.  Digressing to learn this skill is well worth the trouble.

https://d3js.org/

Take a peek at what it can do.  For polls and charts it opens doors!

I'm still waiting to upgrade the Diner to your new Blog & Forum software.  ::)

RE
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Offline azozeo

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Re: The Big Picture
« Reply #726 on: April 07, 2019, 11:40:37 AM »
Quote
So the point is this, they have always been fighting against cooperative ideologies, and they are prepared now to fight us again the next time we try to rise up. In fact, they have certainly seen the shifting tides. They are aware that people are waking up, and they have been making preparations for it. They are beginning to lock down the internet. The police all over the western world have been militarized. They are working hard to take away peoples guns. These people are preparing to go full authoritarian. They are preparing to lock down all of society. The question is, are we prepared to resist when they do?


Get tech savy!  If the internet got locked down a renaissance of clever LANs could spring up and asynchronous bridging can communicate between networks swapping RSS packets.

Sounds good anyway.  A webpage on a short wave radio might be fun too.

At least I'm playing with balls. 

http://chasingthesquirrel.com/

See what I'm up doing.  Right now I'm learning how to use the d3.js library.  I'm being a total student.  The globe on my site is built with the help of the d3 library which turns out to be super useful.  It is OK because my blog project is actually on schedule!  D3 will be used to manage links besides spinning balls.  Digressing to learn this skill is well worth the trouble.

https://d3js.org/

Take a peek at what it can do.  For polls and charts it opens doors!

It's a keeper dawg  :icon_sunny:
Put it on my hallowed home turf. You're now a favorista ......  :icon_mrgreen:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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🌎 Blackouts threaten death blow to Venezuela's industrial survivors
« Reply #727 on: April 13, 2019, 12:09:04 AM »
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-industries/blackouts-threaten-death-blow-to-venezuelas-industrial-survivors-idUSKCN1RO196

April 12, 2019 / 3:11 AM / Updated an hour ago
Blackouts threaten death blow to Venezuela's industrial survivors
Corina Pons, Mayela Armas


6 Min Read

VALENCIA, Venezuela (Reuters) - The latest power outage kicked off another tough week for factory owner Antonello Lorusso in the city of Valencia, once Venezuela’s industrial hub.

For the past month, unprecedented nationwide blackouts have paralyzed the factory and the rest of the country, cutting off power, water and cell service to millions of Venezuelans.

Lorusso’s packaging plant, Distribuidora Marina, had already struggled through years of hyperinflation, vanishing client orders and an exodus of employees.

But now the situation was worse.

For the whole month of March, Lorusso said his company produced only its single daily capacity: 100 tonnes of packaged sugar and grains.

When Reuters visited on April 8, he was using a generator to keep just one of a dozen packaging machines running to fulfill the single order he had received. Power had been on for a few hours, but was too weak to work the machines.

“There is no information, we don’t know if the blackouts will continue or not,” said Lorusso, who has owned the factory for over 30 years. He said the plant had just a day’s worth of power during the previous week.

Power has been intermittent since early March, when the first major blackout plunged Venezuela into a week of darkness. Experts and the opposition have called the government incompetent at maintaining the national electrical grid.
Businessman Antonello Lorusso stands next to a generator at the warehouse of his food packaging plant in Valencia, Venezuela, April 8, 2019. Picture taken April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition and the U.S. government of sabotage.

Venezuelan industry has collapsed during six years of recession that have halved the size of the economy. What is left is largely outside of the capital Caracas, the only major city that Maduro’s government has excluded from a power-rationing plan intended to restrict the load on the system.

In Valencia, a few multinational companies like Nestle and Ford Motor Co hang on. But according to the regional business association, the number of companies based there has fallen to a mere tenth of the 5,000 situated there two decades ago, when Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez became president.
‘THE GAME IS OVER’

The government said on April 4 that the power rationing plan meant Valencia would spend at most three hours a day without electricity.

But a dozen executives and workers there said outages were still lasting over 10 hours. Generators are costly and can only power a fraction of a business’s operations, they said, and many factories have shut down.

“The game is over. Companies are entering a state of despair due to their inviability,” said an executive of a food company with factories in Valencia, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Industrial companies this year are operating below 25 percent of capacity, according to industry group Conindustria. It estimated companies here lost about $220 million during the days in March without power, and would lose $100 million more in April.

Nestle’s factory, which produces baby food, halted production during the first blackout in early March and operations again froze two weeks later, with employees sent home until May, according to Rafael Garcia, a union leader at the plant.

He blamed the most recent stoppage on very low sales of baby food which cost almost a dollar per package, or about what someone earning minimum wage makes in a week.
Slideshow (12 Images)

“My greatest worry is the closure of the factory,” said Garcia, as he sat at a bus stop on Valencia’s Henry Ford Avenue, in the city’s industrial outskirts where warehouses sit empty and streets are covered in weeds.

Nestle, in a statement to Reuters, said it had “temporarily interrupted its manufacturing activities” at its Valencia factory due to a lack of demand and would resume production in May.

Ford’s plant had been operating at a bare minimum for several months, union leaders said. In December, the carmaker began offering buyouts to staff after it received no orders for 2019, they said. Ford had said in December it had “no plans to leave the country.”

The outages have idled more than just factories. In the countryside, lack of power has prevented farmers from pumping water to irrigate fields.

Since January, farmers have sown 17,500 hectares of crops - a third of the area seeded last year - and they fear losing the harvest due to the lack of water, according to agricultural associations.

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In the central state of Cojedes, several rice growers have already lost their crops, farmers said.

“In the rural areas, the blackouts last longer,” said Jose Luis Perez, spokesman for a federation of rice producers.

Producers of cheese, beef, cured meats and lettuce told Reuters orders had dropped by half in March as buyers worried the food would perish once their freezers lost power in the next blackout.

Back in Valencia, Lorusso was preparing his factory for the new era of scarce power. He has converted one unused truck in his parking lot into a water tank. He plans to sell another to buy a second generator.

“We’ve spent years getting used to things. Then we were dealt this hard blow, and now we’re trying to find ways to cope,” he said.

Additional reporting by Tibisay Romero in Valencia; writing by Angus Berwick; editing by David Gregorio and G Crosse
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