Saturday, February 23, 2019

How Humanitarian Assistance is an Existential Threat to Maduro's and Castro's Project to Build Communism in Venezuela

"In the future, there will be fewer but better Russians." - Greta Garbo, Ninotchka, 1939
Maduro's forces set fire to humanitarian aide
Nicolas Maduro, the former president of Venezuela, is ordering troops to burn humanitarian aid. The usurper claims that humanitarian assistance is an existential threat and provocation to his regime. This claim is also backed by the Castro regime. However, they are not being honest about the real nature of the threat.

Venezuelan Jean Pierre Planchart, a year old, weighs 11 pounds.
Maduro, along with the Castro regime, are attempting to install a communist dictatorship in Venezuela. One of the instruments that communist regimes have used to subjugate populations is famine and rationing food to those who are loyal and denying it to those who are not.

Famine is a tool communists have traditionally used to remake societies. 

The deadliest famines in the 20th century were not in Africa but in Europe (Ukraine) and China.
Social science research has demonstrated that famines "happen only with some degree of human complicity."  Human decisions "determine whether a crisis deteriorates into a full-blown famine."

Jean Pierre Planchart malnourished inVenezuela. Pic: Dr. Livia Machado
 In the case of Venezuela, Chávez and Maduro destroyed the market in food by imposing price controls "that resulted in underproduction when the official prices did not meet costs of production. Their governments expropriated farms, ranches, and even food distributors such as butchers. There’s very little if anything produced on these expropriated territories." Rhoda Howard-Hassmann's article "Famine in Venezuela" published on August 21, 2018 in the World Peace Foundation reports:
"By 2017 malnutrition was confirmed in Venezuela, precipitating the political unrest now roiling the country. According to Antulio Rosales (“Weaponizing Hunger is a New Low for the Venezuelan President,” Globe and Mail, March 12, 2018, p.A11) and Enrique Krauze (“Hell of a Fiesta,” New York Review of Books, March 8, 2018, pp. 4-7), by early 2018 more than half of all Venezuelans had lost between 19 and 24 pounds, and 90 per cent said they do not have enough money for food."
 TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan reporting from Caracas on December 30, 2018 published the article "Child malnutrition on the rise in Venezuela" that reveals that levels of hunger in Venezuela are that of a famine.
"The World Health Organisation says, a country with 10% of its children with malnutrition is at risk, at 12% it's considered famine. In Venezuela, a recent study conducted in five different states shows that we're at 14.8%," says Huniades Urbina, President of Venezuela's Childcare and Pediatrics Society.
Despite this reality, on February 4, 2018 Maduro shipped 100 tons of aid to Cuba and on February 6, 2018 Maduro, once again, ordered humanitarian shipments of aid to be blocked from entering Venezuela. Maduro continues to double down and block aid, or actually destroy it when it enters Venezuela.

Maduro blocks aide to Venezuela while sending it to Cuba as Venezuelans go hungry
This is not incompetence, but a sinister political and military strategy that has been successfully played out elsewhere.

Maduro's regime issued ration cards for food in a country were mass hunger is an ever present reality and it is understood by many that following regime instructions, such as going to vote in the last sham election, was necessary to be eligible for rations.  The electoral calculus was clear: "Everyone who has this card must vote," said Nicolas Maduro and continued, "I give and you give." 

This is a very old playbook.

According to Felix Wemheuer, professor of Modern China Studies at the University of Cologne, in his book Famine Politics in Maoist China and the Soviet Union," during the twentieth century, 80 percent of all famine victims worldwide died in China and the Soviet Union." 

Millions starved to death under brutal famine imposed by Joseph Stalin
However, to understand the nature of famine politics in communist regimes the monograph of Andrea Graziosi and Frank E. Sysyn in the East/West: Journal of Ukranian Studies titled "Communism and Hunger" is required reading. Consider the following:
"In fact, with the exception of the 1943 Bengal famine with its approximately two million victims, all of the other major famines of the twentieth century are directly connected to socialist "experiments": in 1921 and 1922 in Russia and Ukraine ( 1million - 1.5 million deaths); in 1931, 1932, and 1933 in the USSR (6.5 million - 7.5 million deaths, of which 4 million were in Ukraine and 1.3 million - 1.5 million in Kazakhstan); in 1946 and 1947 in the USSR (1 million - 1.5 million deaths); from 1958 to 1962 in China (30 million - 45 million deaths); from 1983 to 1985 in Ethiopia (0.5 million - 1.0 million deaths); and from 1994 to 1998 in North Korea ( estimates vary from a few hundred thousand to more than 2 million deaths)."
This was not due to poor central planning and socialist inefficiencies, but a deliberate policy of genocide against targeted population to consolidate political control by eliminating those who do not support their regime. The percentage of victims in the USSR and China relative to their respective overall populations were the same (5%). In the case of the USSR that meant around 7 million deaths out of a population of 160 million and in the case of China  estimates between 30 million and 45 million deaths out of a population of 600 million.

Famine victim in China
According to Graziosi and Sysyn, "most of Ukraine's four million deaths - more than sixty percent of all the famine victims in the USSR - were concentrated in the few weeks between the beginning of April and the the end of June 1933. This points to a political decision to use famine as a weapon to solve a specific "national" problem.  

Starving mom holds her child at height of Holodomor. USSR.1933.
Furthermore, according  to Andreas Graziosi in her 2016 monograph Stalin and Mao's Famines: Similarities and Differences,  outlines the role played by "ideology; planning; the dynamics of the famines; the relationship among harvest, state procurements and peasant behaviour; the role of local cadres; life and death in the villages; the situation in the cities vis-à-vis the countryside, and the production of an official lie for the outside world."

Maduro, and his Cuban allies issued denials about the extent of the problem of hunger in Venezuela. The rejection and destruction of humanitarian assistance combined with images of tons of humanitarian assistance shipped from Venezuela to Cuba appears bizarre, but it needs to be placed in the context of previous episodes involving other communist regimes.

Both the USSR and China used Western journalists, such as Walter Duranty in Moscow and Edgar Snow in Beijing to deny that a famine was taking place and to defend the official lies of the regime. This practice continues today in Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere.

Fidel Castro lounging with Mengistu Haile Mariam, in Ethiopia in 1977
In Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Mariam's regime, reproduced Soviet and Chinese practices when he blacked out communications, and refused access to aid agencies. 

In December 1979, during an Ethiopian military offensive, this time including Soviet advisors and Cuban troops, it “was more specifically directed against the population’s means of survival, including poisoning and bombing waterholes and machine gunning herds of cattle.”

Worse yet, as starvation took hold in Ethiopia, Mengistu ordered planeloads of whisky to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his taking power. Denying that a famine was taking place. Once that could no longer be denied he then used the famine as a cover for ethnic cleansing and removing opponents.

 This history, and the role played by the Cubans, Russians, and Chinese needs to be taken into account when looking at the situation unfolding in Venezuela now.

From Maduro's twitter on September 9, 2018

The population of Venezuela today is approximately 32 million of which 1.6 million is 5%. Based on 90 years experience of communist regimes is that the number that needs to be killed through hunger to successfully terrorize and subjugate a people?

If that is the case then the efforts of the United States and other countries to deliver tons of humanitarian aid to Venezuela and break the death grip of an emerging famine in that country is in and of itself an existential threat to Maduro and his Cuban allies project of imposing communism on  Venezuelans.

It is no coincidence that Nicolas Maduro admires and celebrates the legacy of Mao Tse Tung. 

This is the real reason why humanitarian aid is considered a great provocation by the Maduro regime and his Cuban allies. It takes control from their ongoing effort to kill a lot of Venezuelans to impos their political model.

Furthermore, it is why it is important to hold those responsible for carrying out this policy accountable and brought to justice.

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