Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Latin American Death Squads!

 

You have likely heard for most of your life, from the ever-more-leftist universities and media organs, “Latin American death squads” are a tool of right-wing dictators and military governments trying to suppress the people’s champions, the leftist, progressive, forces. You have also heard Democrats consistently defend leftist regimes in Latin America. You will recall that a Democrat-controlled Congress prohibited funding support to the “Contras” in opposition to the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua (a crew that is now back in power through the ballot box).

You will also remember that the New York Times suppressed knowledge of the Holodomor and the Holocaust, as each unfolded. So, it is quite shocking, and refreshing, to see the New York Times publish “Venezuela Forces Killed Thousands, Then Covered It Up, U.N. Says.”

Special Action Forces described by witnesses as “death squads” killed 5,287 people in 2018 and another 1,569 by mid-May of this year, in what are officially termed by the Venezuelan government “Operations for the Liberation of the People,” United Nations investigators reported.

Laying out a detailed description of a lawless system of oppression, the report says the actual number of deaths could be much higher. It cites accounts by independent groups who report more than 9,000 killings for “resistance to authority” over the same period.

[…]

But any hopes that [United Nation human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s] visit paved the way for a government change of course on human rights were quickly dampened by the news days later of the death in custody of a Navy captain, Rafael Acosta, who was detained the day Ms. Bachelet’s visit ended. His lawyer said he had been in good health at the time of his arrest, but he died in a military hospital a week later showing visible signs beatings.

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet came to the position from Chile, a very stable democracy that elected Bachelet president. Former Chilian President Bachelet, elected twice, has serious human rights credibility [emphasis added]:

The daughter of an air force general, she was a medical student when Marxist President Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup in September 1973. Her father, Gen. Alberto Bachelet, was imprisoned for treason for opposing the coup and then-23-year-old Michelle and her mother were tortured in a secret prison for two weeks before they fled into exile. Following months of torture, her father died of cardiac arrest in March 1974.

It looks like the NYT has decided that this one cannot be covered up and that the Democrats had better get on a “moderate” or even “Scoop Jackson” side if they are to win the prize of ultimate power in 2020. Reading back through earlier reporting on Democrats’ reactions to Maduro’s latest crackdown, it is worth noting that Joe Biden came down against Maduro, as did Speaker Pelosi, in contrast to some new Congresswomen:

[Congresswoman Ilhan] Omar’s pro-Maduro sentiments make her an outlier within her own party. Joe Biden tweeted on Tuesday that Maduro’s violence against protesters was “criminal” and that the “U.S. must stand with the National Assembly & Guaidó in their efforts to restore democracy through legitimate, internationally monitored elections.” Nancy Pelosi tweeted that “Maduro needs to acknowledge the will of the Venezuelan people, whose moving calls for democracy have been heard around the world.”

[…]

So far, Omar hasn’t been joined even by other members of the far-left wing of the Democratic party, many of whom have offered a muted response to the Venezuelan uprising. “Violence is horrible,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tells NRwhen asked to comment on the situation. When pressed on whether the Maduro government is legitimate or Guaidó deserves U.S. support, she adds that she’ll “defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this.”

As the Daily Wire reported on 30 April 2019:

Socialists Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were completely silent on Tuesday about the situation unfolding in Venezuela as the socialist nation reportedly fired on and ran over protesters.

Kamala Harris seemed more moderate, more American mainstream, as she had previously come out against Maduro’s violence:

It appears, then, that leading Democrats in the presidential primary field are safely against Maduro’s government violence against the Venezuelan people. That is a rare point of sanity and common decency in that field. The text of Bachelet’s UN OHCHR speech is posted, although the report is not available on their website as of 7 July 2019. Let us see what the U.S. politicians’ reactions are in the week ahead.

Published in Foreign Policy
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There are 13 comments.

  1. B. W. Wooster Member

    Good background on the story. One thing I wonder about is the level of concern on the part of the average American regarding Venezuela. It seems to me that since the end of the cold war, we have lost much of the “us-versus-them” mentality and the lines have blurred (for some peopled – especially those under 40).

    Nonetheless, it is encouraging that some of leadership recognizes authoritarian overreach and still has enough spine left to call it out.

    • #1
    • July 7, 2019, at 3:55 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. dnewlander Member

    They’re all too busy calling detention camps on our border where people are “uncomfortable” after illegally crossing the border “concentration camps” and denouncing cops while calling you and me racist to care about governments actually killing political enemies.

    In any other era, this would be outrageous.

    Today it’s called “Tuesday”.

    • #2
    • July 7, 2019, at 4:28 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  3. JoelB Member

    Democrats will not waste a crisis. I don’t believe there is a change of heart, just a change of strategy. Venezuela seems to be following the typical communist pattern. Not saying that there will not be a lot of genuine refugees, but I just have the feeling that everyone on our southern boarder will soon be from Venezuela. Has any Russian or Chinese action been reported yet?

    • #3
    • July 7, 2019, at 4:41 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. DonG Coolidge

    Venezuela is doomed. They have the jinx created by Hollywood endorsement. It is bad Karma. There will not be relief until Bernie Sanders and Sean Penn acknowledge the crisis. The un-official death squads (collectivos) are probably worse than the official ones. See here and here.

    • #4
    • July 7, 2019, at 6:25 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  5. I Walton Member

    Left right in Latin American doesn’t make a lot of sense to Americans but is important for Americans to understand. Spain conquered Latin America in the 16th century, prior to the acceptance of British democratic thought, and the Spanish were different to begin with and remain different. The British notion of individual liberty is just alien, “you can’t give power to the people, they’re corrupt, untrustworthy, stupid, mostly indians and hostile”. However, what they call left is about the same as we now call far left, it’s centralized, top down, seeks to control the economy, is anti private property, collectivist and oppressive, and can draw folks from all sides, but comes from the governing class here, as well. But “right” there is also top down and mostly classist. Chile is the only country that had a real revolution with Pinochet, that’s why he was so hated by our left, but even Chile has a greater paternalistic state than market folks in the US would recognize as healthy. Colombia is innately more like us, because it has Departments that were mostly independent from each other until the 20th century that developed differently but local government ( as opposed to Department governments) there is believed to be corrupt. This is among the reasons why I strongly believe we must have more diverse and fewer immigrants and why our own left, which is becoming a real left, want more indigenous folks from South and Central America who wouldn’t pass our low immigration standards. We have to fix it or the Republic won’t survive. I don’t know why that is not obvious. Latinos embrace our ideas once here if they enjoy upward mobility and live in diverse places, but radical Democrats want them to stay poor and to collect into their own neighborhoods and to be non Latinos, mostly hispanic indians or pure indians. I think it’s important for Americans to understand what is going on and why.

    • #5
    • July 7, 2019, at 6:32 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  6. Boss Mongo Member

    B. W. Wooster (View Comment):
    Good background on the story. One thing I wonder about is the level of concern on the part of the average American regarding Venezuela.

    Most Americans don’t know the breadth and depth of the crisis in Venezuela. That’s because the progressives/marxists/socialists in the Democrat party and the media (BIRM) don’t want to draw attention to (yet another, inevitable) black eye for socialism.

    • #6
    • July 7, 2019, at 10:32 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. Henry Castaigne Member

    I should note that some of those ‘right-wing death squads’ (particularly in Peru) were responding to political violence and oppression by Socialist governments and socialist movements. The Shining Path for example, killed 69,000 people in twenty years of rebel war. The right-wing response to that wasn’t pretty from what I’ve heard. 

    • #7
    • July 7, 2019, at 3:02 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    For further reading on the very serious implications of the Venezuelan lawlessness for the U.S., see “Helluva warning about the stalemate in Venezuela.” Then recognize the Washington Post has joined the NYT in some ugly truth telling about the situation. Think of the shift in Florida population. Consider there may be an infusion of the “wrong kind” of Latin American immigrants for Democrats’ plans. 

    You may remember that Colombia signed a historic peace deal with the FARC, earning then-President Juan Manuel Santos the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. The ELN did not take part in that deal. In fact, the end of the war with the FARC paradoxically strengthened the ELN, which is now the biggest Colombian terrorist group around. It now has an estimated 2,500 fighters, and Colombian intelligence believes nearly half of them are now in Venezuela. It has reportedly come to an understanding with renegade “dissident FARC” groups that refused to join the peace agreement to divvy up drug routes through Venezuela.

    In Venezuela’s collapse, the ELN has found endless opportunities, setting up bases throughout rural Venezuela. The guerrilla group is now the de facto governing authority in a growing portion of the country. While there has certainly been some friction, and at least one deadly skirmish, between the ELN and the Venezuelan military, the two more often cooperate with one another than fight each other. In fact, the Colombian military believes the Venezuelan armed forces are now actively training the ELN to use sophisticated weaponry.

    • #8
    • July 7, 2019, at 4:09 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. James Gawron Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    For further reading on the very serious implications of the Venezuelan lawlessness for the U.S., see “Helluva warning about the stalemate in Venezuela.” Then recognize the Washington Post has joined the NYT in some ugly truth telling about the situation. Think of the shift in Florida population. Consider there may be an infusion of the “wrong kind” of Latin American immigrants for Democrats’ plans.

    You may remember that Colombia signed a historic peace deal with the FARC, earning then-President Juan Manuel Santos the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. The ELN did not take part in that deal. In fact, the end of the war with the FARC paradoxically strengthened the ELN, which is now the biggest Colombian terrorist group around. It now has an estimated 2,500 fighters, and Colombian intelligence believes nearly half of them are now in Venezuela. It has reportedly come to an understanding with renegade “dissident FARC” groups that refused to join the peace agreement to divvy up drug routes through Venezuela.

    In Venezuela’s collapse, the ELN has found endless opportunities, setting up bases throughout rural Venezuela. The guerrilla group is now the de facto governing authority in a growing portion of the country. While there has certainly been some friction, and at least one deadly skirmish, between the ELN and the Venezuelan military, the two more often cooperate with one another than fight each other. In fact, the Colombian military believes the Venezuelan armed forces are now actively training the ELN to use sophisticated weaponry.

    Cliff,

    It is important that we keep perspective on this. Maduro’s abuses were evident two years ago. The U.N., the NY Times, and the Washington Post, desperately wanted to cling to the fantasy that socialism is not the nightmare that it is. That is why they have waited until Maduro has been able to consolidate against Guido before certifying Maduro’s crimes. If they had weighed in even six months ago Maduro would have been gone and Venezuela would be on the road to relief from the worst of it.

    The left is made up of those who participate in ludicrous wishful thinking and those who have no morals at all. The former are the American media & U.N. and the Maduro regime is the latter. The atmosphere of condemnation may increase around Maduro but that will never be enough to topple him. Trump will be left to do that. You remember, that incompetent egotist that doesn’t know what he’s doing. Except for the fact that when something actually needs to be done, he appears to be the only one willing to do it.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #9
    • July 7, 2019, at 5:14 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. I Walton Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    For further reading on the very serious implications of the Venezuelan lawlessness for the U.S., see “Helluva warning about the stalemate in Venezuela.” Then recognize the Washington Post has joined the NYT in some ugly truth telling about the situation. Think of the shift in Florida population. Consider there may be an infusion of the “wrong kind” of Latin American immigrants for Democrats’ plans.

    You may remember that Colombia signed a historic peace deal with the FARC, earning then-President Juan Manuel Santos the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. The ELN did not take part in that deal. In fact, the end of the war with the FARC paradoxically strengthened the ELN, which is now the biggest Colombian terrorist group around. It now has an estimated 2,500 fighters, and Colombian intelligence believes nearly half of them are now in Venezuela. It has reportedly come to an understanding with renegade “dissident FARC” groups that refused to join the peace agreement to divvy up drug routes through Venezuela.

    In Venezuela’s collapse, the ELN has found endless opportunities, setting up bases throughout rural Venezuela. The guerrilla group is now the de facto governing authority in a growing portion of the country. While there has certainly been some friction, and at least one deadly skirmish, between the ELN and the Venezuelan military, the two more often cooperate with one another than fight each other. In fact, the Colombian military believes the Venezuelan armed forces are now actively training the ELN to use sophisticated weaponry.

    Cliff,

    It is important that we keep perspective on this. Maduro’s abuses were evident two years ago. The U.N., the NY Times, and the Washington Post, desperately wanted to cling to the fantasy that socialism is not the nightmare that it is. That is why they have waited until Maduro has been able to consolidate against Guido before certifying Maduro’s crimes. If they had weighed in even six months ago Maduro would have been gone and Venezuela would be on the road to relief from the worst of it.

    The left is made up of those who participate in ludicrous wishful thinking and those who have no morals at all. The former are the American media & U.N. and the Maduro regime is the latter. The atmosphere of condemnation may increase around Maduro but that will never be enough to topple him. Trump will be left to do that. You remember, that incompetent egotist that doesn’t know what he’s doing. Except for the fact that when something actually needs to be done, he appears to be the only one willing to do it.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    I agree, Maduro and his thugs won’t go unless we move against him. We don’t have to do anything just let the Colombian’s know we’ll bomb and help however needed. The battle will end once that is clear, Maduro and a few loyalist will join him in Cuba. The Colombian military is quite capable of ridding the place of this rabble but without our support fear what might take place in Colombia by the left and main stream opposition. After all the so called center in the last Colombian government supported the nonsensical Cuban Venezuelan peace deal that has protected the FARC and weakened the Colombian government. Once Maduro is gone our own and the Latin American left will embrace their fantasies without having to face reality and Venezuela doesn’t have much of an economy left. Their lower rung entrepreneurial class were mostly Colombian who have left. It’s going to be tough and until our own left shows some sanity, I’m in no hurry to see this reality vanish unless they can get rid of them themselves. 

    • #10
    • July 7, 2019, at 5:37 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Guruforhire Member

    Missus Guru: “What would you say to trying venezulan food”

    Guru: “I don’t think there is enough meat on our cat to really fill us up”

    Missus Guru: “What why?…. because they are poor”

    Guru: “Because its such a trash fire they are eating their pets to stay alive”

    Missus Guru: pouts “thats sad”

     

    Bless her tender heart.

    • #11
    • July 7, 2019, at 9:15 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. Barfly Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    The left is made up of those who participate in ludicrous wishful thinking and those who have no morals at all. The former are the American media & U.N. and the Maduro regime is the latter.

    The first quoted sentence is true, but the second is imprecise. All people of the left engage in ludicrous wishful thinking, and none of them have what we’d recognize as morals.

    • #12
    • July 8, 2019, at 9:11 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Roosevelt Guck Member

    In light of this news, the argument for either military intervention or an aggressive CIA-type operation that funds a rebellion with US tax dollars is getting more persuasive. Maduro will never leave peacefully. He thinks he’s Fidel Castro. Hate to be the war monger at the garden party, but there it is.

    • #13
    • July 8, 2019, at 5:41 PM PST
    • 4 likes