Coffee Break: Venezuela Part Two

Derrick Coleman, Keanu Ruffo, Eunice Barron, and Oceana Christopher

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Derrick: “Hello falcons, welcome back to Coffee Break, I’m Derrick.”

 

Keanu: “I’m Keanu”

 

Eunice: “I’m Eunice.”

 

Derrick: “And today we are going to continue part two of our Venezuela political crisis. So Oceana welcome back.”

 

Oceana: “Thank you so much it’s so good to be here.”

 

Derrick: “So Eunice do you want to give us a little bit on what we were talking last week?”

 

Eunice: “ Ok, so last week we were talking about that Venezuela is in a political and economic crisis, it’s not only for inflation, you know the oil prices and everything but also…uhm…we can all agree that uhm…Nicolas Maduro is a dictator but we were also talking about the new…uhm.. opposition leader which is also the new legitimate…uhm… president Juan Guaido on how 20% of Venezuelans know him and who he really is and the funny part about this there was no…uhm.. Elections that elected him into office.” “ We were talking how sketchy this you know the U.S and Venezuela relations and you know all of these type of stuff which is really interesting and hopefully you guys enjoy this podcast and yeah.”

 

Keanu: “We definitely did.”

 

Oceana: “Uh hum.”

 

Derrick: “Yes! So…hum..let’s see.”

 

Oceana: “ Yeah, I just wanted to add on to that point that Eunice made on Guaido on only having 20% of recognition among the entire population of Venezuela…uhm… yeah the opposition leader were allowed to participate in the elections of 2018 which…uhm… they were claiming to be illegitimate. But the only reason they were claiming to be illegitmate is becasue they boycottted in advanced and a lot of Venezuelans  didn’t show up so up, so- oh now it’s a so-called illegitimate election, so um basically, they knew they were not going to have the support that they needed to actually get into office so instead of doing that he skipped the line and basically declared himself President, with the support, the full support of the United States; 100%. Um, in fact, he announced that the day after- I think he had just returned from Washington- he’s made several trips to Washington- and then um, I’m sorry he announced that the day after our National Security advisor (John Bolton) and Mike Pence made announcements in support of him- “coincidentally” 24 hours later he announces himself President, so if ummm….

 

Eunice:  “There’s so sketchiness to it.”

 

Oceana”  “People can’t see a link there, I’m sorry, uh the sky’s not blue.”

 

Eunice:  “So you’re saying there’s some sketchiness to it.”

 

Oceana:  “Yes.”

 

Keanu:  “There has to be.”

 

Eunice:  “Sounds you know, very suspicious in a certain way, but there is still more to be known.”

 

Oceana:  “It’s questionable.”

 

Derrick”  “Um, I know, um I know last week, you guys asked me to look for some information about why Costa Rica doesn’t have a military and it goes back oh, way back to like 70 years ago, basically the United States wanted Costa Rica to keep their military back in 1946 or somewhere around there and they didn’t really want to, so they were in negotiations with Nicaragua, even Panama, you know those surrounding countries.  It’s crazy. So I’m going to read a little bit here, ‘Peace activists have long praised Costa Rica’s absence of a military as a model for all nations to follow, truth be told, there’s a lot about Costa Rica, it’s low in crime and relative wealth- that shines in a- you know- there’s a pretty low gang violence there too, so I mean, that’s …

 

Keanu:  “Would you consider it the safest..”

 

Eunice:  “Country in Central America?”

 

Derrick:  “Yes.”

 

Eunice:  “More than Panama?”

 

Derrick:  “Yes. Way more.”

 

Oceana:  “Way less drugs.”

 

Keanu:  “The drug war isn’t as….um”

 

Eunice:  “chaotic…than other countries”

 

Keanu: “than Colombia, cause I know back when, I know Colombia, that was back in the 80s when Escobar, he controlled 80% of the worlds drug logistics, pretty much, you know and we didn’t really hear too much of Costa Rica in that phase, I just heard it was Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico, and those were the main countries that were big in that generation.”

 

Derrick: “And the thing with that, it has to do also with a couple years ago, to where, they have a little bit of a drug problem now, but it’s coming through Colombia, the Colombians are bringing it in, like even now, I think like a year ago a football player was trying to go to Costa Rica but he had weed in a coffee cup,”

 

Eunice: “Wow.”

 

Derrick:  “So they sent him right back to the United States.  They don’t, they don’t…”

 

Eunice:  “They don’t mess around with that.”

 

Derrick:  “Even, um, here’s another thing Costa Rica has, kind-of like a special force group, that that’s what they do, they deal with all the drug traffickers, um like stuff that goes on at the Port, so anything that comes in dramatically it’s a 70 soldier force.”

 

Keanu:  “That’s small….that’s small for a force.”

 

Oceana:  “That says something…. That’s pretty impressive.”

 

Derrick:  “It’s small but they’ve got money to back it up.”

 

Keanu:  “But I could see why the number  is so small, because you know, those 70 soldiers are risking their identity, because in the show Narcos, there weren’t a lot of men and woman that wanted to join the police force because they knew they were risking their family umm and putting themselves in danger, that’s kind-of like how I see it, in the Costa Rica force, because they don’t want to risk drug traffickers knowing who they are and their families and where they live, that’s where I’m trying to get to.”

 

Oceana: “Yes, I could see that, yeah and I think that the U.S. is also… basically, we defend Costa Rica, we have some kind of an agreement where we can do maneuvers to get from there quickly to like Colombia and stuff..”

 

Derrick:  “That’s part of the thing to where they have a secret base, the United States has a secret base in Costa Rica,”

 

Eunice:  “Oh really?”

 

Oceana:  “Where don’t we have a base?!”

 

Keanu: “I mean we have bases pretty much everywhere.”

 

Eunice:  “At this point, it’s not much of a surprise.”

 

Derrick: “That nobody knows, not even the country knows where that base is.”

 

Eunice:  “What?”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah, I believe it.”

 

Derrick:  “But it’s good because let’s say if something happens in Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua- boom, go, you know…”

 

Oceana:  “For better or for worse.”

 

Derrick:  “Yeah.”

 

Eunice: “Do you remember anything that happened, because I remember in the last podcast you were telling us about you know, that you saw something when you were a child- with the whole-”

 

Derrick:  “I was in Panama as a child on a vacation, when the United States was looking for the President at that time- Noriega, I was about 14-13…”

 

Eunice:  “What year was this?”

 

Oceana:  “Like 89 or something?”

 

Eunice:  “1989, wow.”

 

Keanu:  “Were you ever scared that your home country didn’t have an army, like were you, did you always have like that thought-if we get invaded, who’s going to save us?”

 

Eunice:  “What will happen?”

 

Derrick:  “That we’re gonna be screwed-”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah’

 

Derrick: “Kind- of little bit.”

 

Eunice:  “You didn’t thought much of it right, during that time?”

 

Derrick:  “Nah, nah”

 

Oceana:  “Cause there aren’t- ahem- Costa Rica doesn’t really have any enemies because they’re so nice and their not really, drug producers for one thing”

 

Keanu:  “They’re neutral”

 

Derrick:  “And even the President at that time-”

 

Oceana:  “It’s like Canada”

 

Derrick:  “I think it was Nicaragua and.. Honduras or one of those, they were fighting against each other, and the President of Costa Rica kinda like brought everybody to the table and made a peace.”

 

Oceana:  “Awwww, Costa Rica, is a great country, and they have even like a full pension system, so when people stop working they’re set, it’s not like they’re high rolling but they a place to live, food in the fridge and medical care- for life

 

Eunice:  “So all their needs basically are met”

 

Oceana: “Yeah, it’s considered one of the happiest places on Earth by like a National Geographic survey, or whatever

 

Eunice:  “Oh nice, I didn’t know that.”

 

Keanu:  “Definitely have to take a vacay there”

 

Derrick:  “You want to give us your opinion on what we’re talking about Oceana?”

 

Oceana:  “Okay. Um, yeah absolutely, uhhh yeah, it’s interesting because I, I actually visited Nicaragua about maybe 5 years ago or so and I had a great time and then I went over to Costa Rica, that was kind-of a dream trip for me, and um…I’ve always been really interested in Nicaragua, especially with the Iran-Contra affair um, which is bringing us back to present day Venezuela- ironically- because this guy, Elliot Abrams, has been appointed to- uh ‘help’ the transition, so- called transition, and he’s the same guy who oversaw the Iran-Contra operations and several massacres in Guatemala, he’s very known in the region- and worldwide- I mean we can watch his testimony, basically admitting- before the Senate- in the 80s- yeah, okay,  I did lie, cheat, steal and kill a lot of people. And now it’s like, Oh, let’s get that guy- that’s a great way to legitimize this so-called transition- I don’t, what are they calling it- saving the Venezuelan people from .. from.. .the other guy”

 

Eunice:  “Do you guys think that Venezuela may have a chance to recover, from what’s going on right now or, no?”

 

Derrick:  “Mmmm, it’s gonna take years.”

 

Eunice:  “Years?”

 

Keanu:  “I mean like we said last week, the past is just, repeating itself.”

 

Eunice:  “Repeating itself.”

 

Keanu:  “That’s… It’s kind-of hard to say.”

 

Eunice:  “We remain hopeful but at the same time it’s going to be very difficult because it’s already a mess.”

 

Keanu: “There’s always going to be crooked people, crooked politicians.”

 

Eunice:  “It’s been like this since, you know, since the 90s… well corruption always has existed, it’s just that, in this particular case, in Venezuela, in Venezuela’s case umm you know it’s been you know, little by little, it’s been turning into a big pile of dirt.”

Oceana:  “Well, and the thing is that, we have to not, we need to still mention that there is a force inside Venezuela, that wants this coup,  and it’s the capitalist class- billionaires- that are like, oh no, Mr. Maduro dictator, I really don’t want to pay you 30% or 40% taxes, which actually in this country used to be the case pre-Reagan and so we had everything, the country kind-of had everything it needed because there was this idea that Europe still employs, like okay, if you get to a certain point of money- in the millions- you already have enough so you’re going to get taxed the higher rate but, Reagan undid all of that, and Maduro is kind-of like implementing those sorts of reforms, following in the footsteps of his predecessor- Chavez- who was equally hated for the same reasons- so um, I do see it’s like the past repeating itself but there is just these, these quiet forces, at least from our Western perspective because our media doesn’t really talk about it, but if you look out there in the progressive media- Democracy Now is reporting on this, very legitimate source, that you know, it’s these several billionaires who are really working hand over fist to try to get this coup to happen because it will benefit them.”

 

Derrick:  “Eunice you want to give your opinion?”

 

Eunice: “Uh, I pretty much already said my opinion but I think it’s very shady, very sad, because the people in between all of this mess is the working class, the regular class citizens, who are deeply affected by this.  So I remain hopeful that one day maybe Venezuela might get back on its feet and actually get the democracy it deserves, so yes.”

 

Derrick:  “How about you Keanu?”

 

Keanu:  “Um, I agree with Oceana and Eunice, um you know it’s hard to say at this point when you have, when you have a dictator, like what’s his name?”

 

Eunice:  “Maduro.”

 

Keanu:  “You know, who he just, he just becomes President out of nowhere, you know, you can’t have people like that, doing that.”

 

Oceana:  “Wait, wait, wait, that’s Guaido- that’s the opposition guy, Maduro was elected.”

 

Eunice:  “He was elected ‘between commas’, yeah supposedly he won in the last election that Venezuela had a couple of years ago.”

 

Oceana:  “Which the opposition challenges the results because they boycotted the election so they didn’t you know, want to actually run, so questionable on many sides.”

 

Derrick: “So um, I’m going to give my last little point on this and then we transition over to the next topic um, I was, so I was just reading that, I think personally, if the United States goes to war with Venezuela it’s going to be over the oil.

 

Keanu:  “Yeah.”

 

Eunice:  “And resources.”

 

Derrick:  “and I think, I think that’s the only place in Central America where the United States can get oil from.”

 

Oceana:  “You’re right about that, yes, and there is going to be a march and rally Saturday, March 16th from 11- 1pm at MacArthur Park- ‘Hands Off Venezuela LA’ so if anybody agrees with me, and thinks that the U.S. needs to get out and stay out that’s where you should be March, 16th, Saturday 11-1.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah, because I always hear the phrase, that the U.S. is or isn’t the world’s police, I know you hear that a lot, like I don’t know, are we?  Or are we not?”

 

Oceana:  “If we’re not THE, we are, like, amongst the top, no okay, I’m sorry, we are.  

 

Keanu:  “Yeah, yeah we are.”

 

Oceana:  “Because look at how much we spend on military.  It’s the reason that we cannot afford to provide education and healthcare to our citizens because our values are being the world police over being the worlds educated, or, I mean, it’s it’s just, I get it, Russia could be a threat, China could be a threat, that’s all realistic but we have gone WAY over the top with the amount of defense spending and waste.  Don’t get me started.”

 

Derrick:  “So, let’s transition over to El Chapo’s case.”

 

Eunice:  “Yes, and uh, according to the Financial Times, I quote, ‘In New York, last week, Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, the once all powerful former head of the Sinaloa Cartel was convicted on 10 counts of drug trafficking and money laundering, he was the highest profile drug boss to ever stand trial in the U.S.’, so this was a man who, you know, I’m pretty sure we all agree, who has fueled so much, you know, Mexico’s never ending war on drugs with the United States and probably internationally, this was a man, who, you know, I don’t even know who is even, or better or worse- Pablo Escobar or Joaquin El Chapo- Guzman.  They’re about, I think the same range now at this point, because this man has, you know, wow, the stories that we have been hearing..”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah, and it’s crazy to think, how many resources he had, how many people are supportive of him.”

 

Eunice:  “Yes, well it is true that many a drug cartel leader, such as, in this particular case, El Chapo, he helped so much his people, in Sinaloa, you know, his home state, more than, you know, he’s helped more than you know, the government has helped it’s actual people that’s why many people love him, it’s just that he’s a loved and a wanted man, at the same time.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah.”

 

Eunice:  “So it’s very, it’s , it’s crazy to hear these kind of stories.”

 

Keanu:  “It’s like internationally he’s the bad guy but in his home country he’s the good guy.”

 

Eunice:  “In his home he’s the good guy.”

 

Oceana:  “It’s almost like Al’Queda in a weird way, cause, well no, maybe that’s going too far.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah uh…”

 

Oceana:  “I mean because some of the locals in that region they do say, we rely on them more than the government.”

 

Keanu:  “Oh definitely, yeah definitely.”

 

Ocean:  “So they’ve created that loyalty.”

 

Keanu:  “They depend on the bad guys to get the resources.”

 

Oceana:  “Because they have the resources.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah, they have the weapons.”

 

Oceana:  “And they can protect them, from them.”

 

Eunice:  “One thing I found like odd when he was first turned in to the authorities here in the United States, I don’t know if everybody remembers when they were transferring him from Mexico to the United States, it was the day before, you know, well the day before Trump entered his first term, so once Obama got out- Trump  went in and the President of this time, who I’m not happy about, but I need to say his name- Enrique Peña Nieto- um he, turned El Chapo to Trump’s administration to see what they could deal with him but I’m like, they should have done with years ago when he was actually captured and didn’t make his famous escape.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah, the way we went after Osama bin Laden when Obama was still in office, we should have done that with El Chapo.”

 

Derrick:  “You mean, put a bullet between his eyes?”

 

Keanu:  “Well, yeah, that too.  I don’t think, put a bullet between his eyes but kinda like, restrain him.”

 

Eunice:  “I just found it to be odd that the Mexican President did this one day before, you know, Trump went into office, it’s just very, very, very odd for me personally.  But I don’t know what you guys think.”

 

Oceana:  “It’s definitely ironic, yeah that might have been a little bargaining chip- peace offering between leaders.”

 

Eunice:  “During that time, I believe so.”

 

Derrick:  “And I was telling Keanu that the jail that he’s possibly going to be going to…”

 

Eunice:  “Well he is already in, pretty much.”

 

Derrick:  “No, the one that he’s going to spend the rest of his life in, that place is- maximum security.”

 

Eunice:  “And I heard like, he can’t interact with noone and possibly not even see his family, that’s what I’ve been informed.”

 

Oceana:   “I don’t think most people are going to feel too bad for him, specifically.  But, you guys, in researching this topic I have come across some stuff, that I have to say, I was, this is good- this is heating up!”

 

Derrick:  “You want to give us a little bit of what you have?”

 

Oceana:  “Okay, yeah.  Several sources, including Al Jazeera are reporting the um… surprise, surprise-  CIA, El Chapo, Carlos Slim connection to the drug trade, which takes us right back to Nicaragua and some of the things we’ve been talking about.”

 

Eunice:  “It’s all connected. That’s the strange part here.”

 

Oceana:  “Yeah, this is talking about, apparently there was a plane crash in 2007, it was an American registered Gulfstream II business jet out of St. Petersburg FL, crashed landed in the jungles of Mexico’s Yucatan, outside of Merida, state capital, in the middle of the night and it was one of the biggest drug shipments they’ve ever apprehended, 4- 6 tons, it supposedly belonged to El Chapo, that’s what they claimed at the time, so behind the scenes there’s the director of the Civil Aviation in the Yucatan, he actually controlled the airports, so he would not allow that plane to land, they didn’t know why, well um… I think within 24 hours his body was found and then when the police were attending to, when they found the body um, lying face down on the road holding his cell phone, as they were examining the body, the cell phone began ringing, his killers still nearby were mocking investigators.  So, um, then it goes into, where does the real slim shady- which is where Carlos Slim comes in- and apparently his long-time lieutenant, former chief financial officer and right-hand man for more than 16 years, which is Chico Pardo, he left Slim’s employ ostensibly, or working for Slim, to head up a hot prospect- the Grupo Aeropuerto del Sureste, a publicly traded Mexican corporation which basically exemplifies the corporatization that has revolutionized the Mexican drug trade. So, these guys controlled all the airports, where the drugs were being flown in and out.”

 

Eunice:  “So it’s all being worked out under the table, pretty much”

 

Oceana:  “Basically, yeah.  And then it says that with Slim, when he worked his whole life and was able to able to amass a fortune, of uh.. upon supposedly retiring, 6 billion, but within one year- okay so it says he was reportedly worth 6 billion in 1999, within one year his net worth shot from 6 billion to between 57 billion and 60 billion dollars, so after working hard for 40 years, oh I’m sorry I said one year, but in less than a decade he made 50 billion dollars okay  and it says that basically, everybody knows that the drug trade in Mexico is also entrenched with the political system..”

 

Eunice:  “It is. It’s no secret, for us, us Mexicans.  We know that. It’s not, not secret.”

 

Oceana: “Yeah, so some people watching this trial and the person who wrote this article are saying this is kind-of hilarious, because relative to the real padrinos behind the  jefe of jefes, Chapo is actually a low man on the totem pole, who was taken out as an example, so- pretty interesting.”

 

Derrick:  “Keanu- you want to give us your take on what she was talking about?”

 

Keanu:  “Uh yeah, definitely  it’s sad to see like uh, when a good person is like taken out and then the next person steps up and he’s affiliated with all these drug traffickers and everything because then that just,  it crumbles from the inside, you know, and then like the whole drug trafficking war still goes on, everything- everything- it doesn’t change. Everything still remains the same.”

 

Eunice:  “It’s the same. The saddest part is that more people are dying and being, you know, affected and bad guys are getting away with everything, which is sad.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah, more good guys are being assasinated.  I think that’s when the U.S. has to step in and be the world’s policeman and…”

 

Oceana:  “Could they be a fair policeman though, that’s my problem, I don’t see them as a peace officer, like the original idea of a policeman.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah I get you, but you know when you have stuff like this going on and people are dying, a lot people are dying, because you know El Chapo is responsible for millions of deaths, millions of deaths.

 

Oceana:  “Trust me, I am not a fan of El Chapo, for the record.”

 

Eunice:  “And also one of main pioneers on the U.S. war on drugs which has truly affected our society since probably the 1980s where it was at its most highest.”

 

Oceana:  “When the CIA was bringing cocaine into Los Angeles

 

Eunice:  “Wow.”

 

Keanu:  “Yeah.”

 

Oceana:  “which is reported on by the San Jose Chronicle or whatever and a lot of other people. They will refute that but there’s so much evidence, it’s almost un-refutable basically. When they actually went for comment from the CIA themselves, when Al-Jazeera asked for comment on this article they said ‘Uh yeah, refer to our website.’ No comment.  In my opinion no comment usually implies some kind of guilt just by, you know, rationality on it. Psychological basis.

 

Derrick:  “So I’m going to leave you guys with a little bit of something that I was just reading and then we’re going to be on our way out.  Um, ‘We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion, this isn’t a matter of political correctness, it’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong, the world respects us not just for our arsenal, it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.’  That was from Barack Obama. This has been Coffee Break I’m Derrick

 

Keanu: “I’m Keanu”

 

Eunice:  “I’m Eunice”

 

Oceana:  “And I’m Oceana”

 

Derrick:  “See you guys next week.”

 

Edited by Derrick Coleman

Transcribed by Oceana Christopher

 

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