Friday, November 16, 2018

The Dysfunctional States of America

Not talking about states in the good ol' USA, although there are plenty of those, but certain nation-states in the Americas.

        Topping the list, of course, is Venezuela, a country that has embraced the halcyon days of Communism and, of course, paid a horrible price. People starving, a dysfunctional economy and endemic corruption, hospitals without power or medicine, large masses of people fleeing the country ... a real Communist utopia. Now we can add to that a guerrilla insurgency. Colombia’s National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) is reported to be present in half of Venezuela. There is a certain irony to this as the ELN is, itself, a Marxist group. The left eating itself, I suppose.

        In any event, the article reports that "[b]ased on the information InSight Crime gathered, the ELN could have a presence in the states of Táchira, Zulia, Apure, Trujillo, Anzoátegui, Lara Falcón, Amazonas, Barinas, Portuguesa, Guárico and Bolívar." Also, being good Marxists, the group "allegedly engages in include cattle smuggling, gasoline smuggling, extortion, food distribution, radio stations, recruitment of minors, attacks on security officials, drug trafficking and illegal mining." So, basically your standard leftist government.

      According to the article, Venezuela (under Maduro) may have actually allowed or encouraged the ELN to enter and operate inside Venezuela in order to give it safe haven from Columbian troops. Maduro may have even acceded to the ELN becoming a de facto government in some regions. Maduro may have let the camel poke to far into the tent. The article also notes that "ELN units have managed to advance nearly 1,500 kilometers from the Colombian border with Venezuela’s Táchira state, where the group has historically entered the country, to states that border Guyana and Brazil, such as Bolívar and Amazonas, and to coastal states like Anzoátegui and Falcón." That is far beyond what the ELN would need as a haven from Columbian forces and suggests that the group may have territorial ambitions within Venezuela.

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