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Venezuela, Is The Mutiny Underway Against Maduro?

A sharp critique against the government by an insider shows the ranks of the Bolivarian movement may be set to turn on President Nicolas Maduro. What's lost without Hugo Chavez.

Who is Maduro blaming?
Who is Maduro blaming?


CARACAS — As if Venezuela's 1,001 endemic problems (economic and social, corruption, crime and state repression) were not enough. Now the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro faces mutiny in its own ranks, which highlights — not for the first time — the difference in charisma and authority between Venezuela's late leader Hugo Chávez, and his successor.

The impact of Maduro's declarations, made days ago in a vigorous speech to members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), have yet to be seen. Speaking in combative terms, he declared that "nobody will take us away from the work Commander Chávez bequeathed us ... neither the subversive Right nor the outdated Left."

He dismissed his critics as being "disloyal" elements, who had "failed, one and all, when they were ministers."

The chief target of the president's furious jabs was the ousted Minister of Planning Jorge Giordani, who has in various ministries and within the bounds of Marxist orthodoxy, planned and brought about the economic disaster the country faces today.

"The Monk," as he has been nicknamed for his austere living and teaching vocation, was sacked by Maduro last week, in a move perceived as a last-minute swerve to redirect the drifting economy.

Too little too late? The Venezuelan economy has long been sailing this way and that in desperate attempts to avoid crashing into Reality Cliff. Both Chávez and Maduro have laid out flimsy excuses for the problems: blaming shortages and inflation on the "oligarchy," the "plotting" Right and imperialist forces seeking to destabilize the country.

As his head was about to roll, Giordani decided to write a 20-page report throwing a litany of charges against the government, and especially the president, with accusations of a lack of leadership, indecision, unfettered public spending and fomenting "flourishing" corruption in the shadow of the regime's revolutionary discourse.

Cash distributor

Ironically, this figure who was directly responsible for much of the economic disorder for the past 15 years accepted no responsibility for himself, skirting around the figure of Chávez, as he launched a no-holds-barred bombardment of the current president.

Maduro's immediate response was to urge clear "definitions" from among regime followers. Certainly he can count on a greater number of supporters in the short and medium terms, for being the visible face of the ruling system and the man who effectively allocates billions of dollars of petrodollar revenues.

Part of these oil revenues have gone to pay for social programs and aid needy sectors, undoubtedly improving relevant indices. Yet the discourse of permanent plotting and outside subversion is clearly exhausted, and the agents of failure should be sought inside the government and the ranks of its beneficiaries — the Boliburguesía, or Bolivarian bourgeoisie, that has risen with the regime.

The political sphere is meanwhile deteriorating as the Bolivarian movement's intransigence has ended the willingness of a sector of the opposition to undertake constructive dialogue. The radical opponent Leopoldo López and other critics remain in, or are about to be thrown into jail. One could disagree over certain issues with the outspoken former legislator María Corina Machado, but to accuse her — on the basis of forged evidence — of plotting a presidential assassination with other opponents is just a clumsy setup.

Before this unfolding scenario, the Maduro government had better put its house in order instead of reinforcing its authoritarian tendencies. Recognizing the many errors made would indeed be a first step toward opening a real dialogue with an opposition that represents almost half of all Venezuelans.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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