General Motors said Wednesday it has been forced to stop operating in Venezuela after one of its plants was illegally seized by local authorities.
The seizure, in the country’s industrial hub of Valencia, comes amid a deepening economic and political crisis that has sparked weeks of deadly street protests.
General Motors Venezolana, GM’s local subsidiary, did not provide any details about the seizure, other than to say the facility “was unexpectedly taken by authorities, preventing normal operations.” It said other assets, “such as vehicles,” had also been stripped from the site.
The growing socialist dictatorship in Venezuela hit a speedbump briefly when the opposition to Venezuelan President Maduro gained a (disputed) supermajority in the legislature. Despite this, Maduro’s power grab had proceeded unabated, if not outright accelerated.
Things are so bad under the Maduro regime in Caracas, it’s hard to figure out how it survives. Until you look at the bucks coming in from Beijing.
Socialist solidarity appears to be alive and well; Karl Marx would be oh so proud. China, whose one-party system has managed to successfully open up much of its economy in recent decades, has decided to prop up one of the worst socialist experiments in history: Venezuela. We believe this is dangerous, both for Venezuelans and for the region.
China’s ultra-pragmatic actions should surprise no one.
Kim Jong Nam, 45, was killed on Feb. 13 at a crowded Kuala Lumpur airport in an attack with VX nerve agent, which is considered a weapon of mass destruction.
Seoul has said from the start that the isolated North is behind the Cold War-style assassination.
South Korean and Japanese media, citing diplomatic sources, have reported that the U.S. has been mulling placing the North back on its terrorism list, which includes Iran and Syria.
“The U.S. will keenly realize how dearly it has to pay for its groundless accusations against the dignified” North if it re-lists it, the regime’s foreign ministry spokesman told the state-run news agency, KCNA.
The spokesman maintained that Pyongyang opposes “all forms of terrorism” and accused the U.S. of trying to tarnish its reputation.
Malaysia said it expelled North Korea’s ambassador on Saturday for refusing to apologize for his strong accusations over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the killing of the North Korean leader’s half brother.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a notice was sent to the North Korean Embassy at around 6 p.m. declaring Ambassador Kang Chol persona non grata. The notice said Kang must leave Malaysia within 48 hours.
Earlier in the week, Malaysia demanded that North Korea formally apologize for Kang’s accusations over the investigation into the Feb. 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, including that “the Malaysian government had something to hide and that Malaysia has colluded with outside powers to defame” North Korea, Anifah said in a statement.
He said that no apology had come and none appeared forthcoming, and that North Korean Embassy officials also failed to turn up for a meeting Saturday at the foreign ministry, so Malaysia decided to expel the ambassador.
China is deeply suspicious of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party espouses the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing, which has cut off an official dialogue mechanism with Taipei.
Tsai says she wants peace with China.
“We will never tolerate any activity, in any form or name, which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland,” Li said in a report available before he delivered an annual address to China’s top legislature.
China will protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity while safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Li said.
Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists. China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, viewing it as a wayward province.
In 2014, hundreds of students occupied Taiwan’s parliament for weeks in protests known as the Sunflower Movement, demanding more transparency and fearful of China’s growing economic and political influence on the democratic island.
Chinese jets and warships carried out exercises near Taiwan and into the Western Pacific on Thursday, as Taiwan’s defense minister warned of a growing threat from its giant neighbor.
Li also said the notion of Hong Kong independence would lead nowhere, and Beijing would ensure that the principle of “one country, two systems” is applied in Hong Kong and Macao “without being bent or distorted”.
I thought you might find this interesting. Stanisław Swianiewicz was taken off a train on the way to the killing field at Katyn for reasons which have never been entirely clear. He spent many years as a professor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was separated from his wife for 18 years before she was allowed to leave the Soviet Union. From the write up:
Totalitarianism touches every aspect of every person’s life, and Cuban communism has been traumatic for adults and children not drunk with fanaticism.
Ever since the death of that psychotic dictator Fidel Castro, I have been experiencing déjà vu. At age ten, I fled my native Cuba after the Communists took over and proceeded to trash the nation to make it conform to their totalitarian ideology. You may think that a ten-year-old would be ignorant of politics and not remember much, but totalitarianism touches every aspect of every person’s life, and it was traumatic for adults and children who were not drunk with fanaticism.
25 years ago George Bush Sr. was still in office, and so was Saddam Hussein. The European Union didn’t exist and neither did China’s economic powerhouse. The Berlin wall had just come down and Germany had finally reunited. Hillary Clinton was a little-known mouthy First Lady of Arkansas and the media gleefully predicted that Donald Trump would never climb back to the top after his Atlantic City fiasco.
On the other side of the Iron Curtain, the Eastern bloc was in shambles, but the USSR was still standing with Mikhail Gorbachev at the helm.
“For Atiir, a reader in Estonia, the transition was about more than economics. It was emotional. “The happiness and joy to have our freedom back – to step up against the ‘big bully’. We also had our Christmas and Easter back,” she said. Under Soviet rule religion and celebrations of religious holidays were strongly discouraged.”
While the Guardian managed to dig up a couple of malcontents who lament the USSR’s passing the majority express satisfaction at its demise.
As its centenary looms, never forget the brutal oppression ushered in by the Russian Revolution
Few 20th-century historians doubted that the 1917 Russian revolution was one of the most influential events of their time, indeed of all time. As the centenary commemoration approaches, however, it seems remarkable how far and how fast the ideology that inspired Lenin and millions of his worldwide followers has receded in significance. Many are the imperfections of capitalism, but almost nobody outside Jeremy Corbyn’s office any longer supposes that communism, least of all the old Soviet brand, offers a credible alternative. This would amaze our grandparents’ generation on both sides of the struggle.
It’s a long way from Westminster to the banks of the Zambesi. But last week, for me, they linked up. I was lolling on my bed in the Sausage Tree Safari Camp, writing up notes for a travel article. Then a single, iridescent, rather delicate green wasp buzzed into my room and settled on my mosquito net. I folded my laptop. Looked at the wasp. And I got a sudden vision of Jeremy Corbyn and the fate of the Labour party.