Saturday, March 14, 2015

Just a 'Simple Military Guy' on the Crisis in Venezuela

From a Department of Defense Press Briefing by Commander General John F. Kelly (USMC), U.S. Southern Command in the Pentagon Briefing Room:
 We're just -- you know, we're just watching and waiting and -- you know, just hoping that the Venezuelan people work it out.  I mean, they did elect the current government democratically, so it's up to them, I think, to sort this thing out.  Obviously, it's a bad news story.  The citizens there are -- are increasingly, I think, desperate in terms of the economy and in terms of just things that they need, staples of life.

The real shame of it is, of course, they have the second-largest oil reserves in the world.  If it -- if it continues to degrade, I'm -- here's where I am concerned.  There are many, many countries in Latin America that take virtually free fuel, Petrocaribe, that Chavez and now Maduro provides, Venezuela, Colombia, Jamaica -- not Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, places like that.  These small, small countries rely on -- on the oil more or less free.  Their economies would, I think, collapse if they didn't get the oil.

So if we see a continued degradation -- you know, right now, I think the inflation rate is 56 percent.  That is impossible to sustain that in any economy.  So if he starts to -- if they make a decision to stop the flow of relatively or all but free oil to these smaller economies, and those economies fail, then that -- that would have certainly a migration impact, and you know where they're coming, and -- and particularly Cuba.  I mean, Cuba is very dependent on the Petrocaribe, as is Nicaragua, and if that was turned off, I think there would be some real repercussions economically.  But, again, I'm -- I'm a military guy and -- just a simple military guy trying to do a job.  I don't understand the economy -- economic thing very well.

But we're watching.  And I just wish the Venezuelan people well.


  1. Good for him for being honest about it. But he's a military guy. After waiting impatiently for too long, he's still a hammer looking for a nail. I doubt sending "Chicago boy" economists in is on his radar.

  2. Venezuela: a few in the top political class living like kings and everyone else waiting for government handouts. Why do I think that the current US administration looks at Venezuela with envy?