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The Risk Of A Catastrophic US Intervention In Venezuela Is Real

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By declaring himself Venezuela’s president on Wednesday, Juan Guaidó has brought Venezuela to the edge of catastrophe. The hitherto unknown opposition leader’s actions, which appear to be closely coordinated with if not directed by the US, have set in motion a perilous chain of events.

The US recognized Guaidó as president minutes after his declaration. A number of Latin American nations, most with conservative governments backed by the US, have also done so. The growing list includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, and Paraguay. Canada and the Organization of American States have also recognized Guaidó. The European Union has reportedly considered such a step, but for now has instead issued a call for new elections.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has responded to these actions by breaking relations with the US and ordering US diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours. Guaidó, in turn, told US and other diplomats to stay, a message also put forward by Republican US senator Marco Rubio, a leading opponent of Maduro. The Trump administration is ignoring Maduro’s order, which a senior official called “meaningless.” Another senior Trump official has declared, “All options are on the table,” reiterating a message Trump himself has put forward since 2017.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. But a US invasion feels like a real possibility.

This course of action must be firmly rejected. This is not because Maduro deserves anyone’s support or sympathy. It is because of the untold suffering and damage US military intervention would bring to Venezuela and the region, and the vanishingly small likelihood such action could bring the change Venezuela needs.

Venezuela does, indeed, need change. The economic crisis ravaging the country since 2013 shows no sign of abating and has grown worse in the last 18 months. Severe shortages of food, medicine, and basic goods, alongside punishing hyperinflation, have driven an estimated three million Venezuelans to leave the country in recent years. The government has reacted by governing in an increasingly authoritarian manner.

The case against Maduro is easy to make. Yet it must be recognized that Venezuela’s crisis is not solely Maduro’s doing. The US government and opposition also share responsibility. The US has acknowledged that its sanctions could harm Venezuelans, with the following appearing in a November 2018 Congressional Research Service report:

Although stronger economic sanctions could influence the Venezuelan government’s behavior, they also could have negative effects and unintended consequences. Analysts are concerned that stronger sanctions could exacerbate Venezuela’s difficult humanitarian situation, which has been marked by shortages of food and medicines, increased poverty, and mass migration. Many Venezuelan civil society groups oppose sanctions that could worsen humanitarian conditions.

There is little doubt sanctions have worsened humanitarian conditions. The main reason is that harsher sanctions imposed in mid-2017 severely curtailed Venezuela’s ability to incur debt, and in so doing decimated Venezuelan oil production. This has lessened the public resources available to an increasingly desperate population. Far from being an accidental side effect, this seems to be one of the intents of US policy: make Venezuelans so desperate that they turn against Maduro. The inhumanity of such a policy is clear.

The opposition bears a share of responsibility for the crisis for two reasons. One is the direct and indirect damage wrought by episodes of violent protest, such as occurred in 2014 and 2017, with full-throated encouragement by the US. In addition to property damaged and lives lost, many at the hands of opposition forces (with the government also responsible for many deaths), opposition violence fed a climate of fear and polarization, inhibiting the prospects for economic reform and government-opposition dialogue.

The opposition also deserves criticism for its inability to establish more effective links to Venezuela’s working classes. While historically strongly supportive of Chavismo, the working classes – comprised largely of formal and informal workers, the unemployed or domestically employed poor – have suffered tremendously in the current crisis. This suffering has led to repeated instances of popular protest directed against the Maduro administration. The opposition has been unable to effectively connect with these protests for several reasons, foremost amongst them being its inability to articulate a positive program that effectively addresses everyday popular-sector concerns (e.g. declining livability). The working classes are also wary of the opposition’s history of violence and close ties to the US.

To overcome the severe challenges it faces Venezuela needs a broad-based, peaceful opposition that effectively welds together legitimate political demands (eg for free and fair elections and meaningful government-opposition dialogue) and pressing social and economic demands, for access to food, medicine, and basic services. Guaidó’s and the US’ reckless adventurism have made this scenario far less likely, while dramatically increasing the risk of catastrophe and civil war. Such adventurism must be rejected.

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Kubidyza is a Global Celebrity Blogger, Music Promoter and a Social Media Influencer | Most Influential Blogger In Ghana For Bookings: Kubinho80@gmail.com

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I Deserve More Ballon D’Or Awards Than Messi : Ronaldo

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Ronaldo

Portugese football star, Cristiano Ronaldo who has a world’s best player (Ballon d’Or) awards tie with Lionel Messi, has stated that he deserves more awards than the Argentinian player.

Ronaldo expressed how eager he was to finish with at least one more trophy than Messi as he sat for an interview with Piers Morgan on Britain’s ITV on Tuesday, September 17.

“I would love [more], and I think I deserve it,” the Juventus forward told ITV’s Piers Morgan in an interview.

The 34-year-old said, “Messi’s in the history of football – but I think I have to have six or seven or eight to be above him,” hinting that retirement is not in his plans anytime soon.

The superstar footballer also said he considers himself the best footballer in the world even if football fans think otherwise.

“I’m sure I’m in the history of football for what I have done and what I’m continuing to do, but one of the best players in history,” the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star said.

“For me, the number one in history, but for some fans, if the number one is another one and I’m second, it doesn’t matter. I know I’m in the history of football as one of the greatest ever,” he added.

He reiterated that he’s not friends with Messi but added that they have a good relationship.

“My relationship with him is, we are not friends, but we have shared this stage for 15 years. I have a good relationship with him and I know that he has pushed me to be a better player and I have pushed him to be a better player as well,” Ronaldo said.

Ronaldo has been locked in a head-to-head battle with the Argentinian maestro for more than a decade. They currently find themselves tied with five Ballon d’Ors each.

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School Fire Kills At Least 26 Children And Two Teachers In Liberia

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Liberia

At least 26 children and two teachers have been killed after a fire broke out at a Koranic boarding school near the Liberian capital Monrovia on Tuesday night, the president’s office said on Wednesday, September 18.

Emergency services had told President George Weah 28 people had died, his spokesman Solo Kelgbeh told AFP, as the president visited the site in Paynesville, on the outskirts of the capital.

“The kids were learning the Koran when the fire broke out,” police spokesman Moses Carter said. “The cause is not known yet.”

Confirming the sad news on Twitter, President George Weah wrote: ‘My prayers go out to the families of the children that died last night in Paynesville City; as a result of a deadly fire that engulfed their school building. This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all of Liberia. Deepest condolences go out to the bereaved

Families and the entire Islamic Community. May God strengthen them and give them the courage to persevere. Let’s continue to keep the families in our prayers.’

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Cristiano Ronaldo Is Searching For A Woman Called ‘Edna’ And Two Others Who Gave Him Burgers When He Was A Poor Kid

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Superstar footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo is searching for a mystery woman named ‘Edna’ and two other staff of McDonald’s, who gave him burgers when he was a poor kid in Portugal. 

The 34-year-old Juventus striker disclosed this during his in-depth interview with Piers Morgan on ITV.

The former Real Madrid star said he used to beg for burgers from three  McDonald’s staff on the island of Madeira when he was a poor kid.

Ronaldo, who is now rated among the five richest footballers in the world is hoping to track down the women who helped him during his time of need.

“We were a little hungry. We have a McDonald’s next to the stadium, we knocked on the door and asked if they had any burgers,” he said on ITV.

“There was always Edna and two other girls. I never found them again.”

The McDonalds restaurant is now closed but Ronaldo wants to find Edna so he can “give something back” following her selfless gesture to him.

“I asked people in Portugal, they closed the McDonalds, but if this interview can help find them, I would be so happy,” he added.

“I want to invite them to Turin or Lisbon to come to have dinner with me because I want to give something back.”

See his full quote below.

Cristiano Ronaldo is searching for a woman called ?Edna? and two others who gave him burgers when he was a poor kid?

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