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Sham Election Under Venezuelan Dictatorship… Elicits Scorn From Native Who Came To U.S. In ’80s

May 30, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

During his homily at a recent daily Mass, a Phoenix pastor told a story that had been passed along to him by a Vietnamese native who serves as a monsignor in the Diocese of Phoenix.
Fr. Steven Kunkel, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, told parishioners that a young man came into possession of a wild horse, and his father was told how lucky it was to have a healthy horse for the family, but he replied, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who can say?”
Then, Kunkel said, the youngster broke his leg while trying to tame the horse, and his father was told the horse was bad luck after all, but he replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who can say?”
Soon an army marched through town conscripting all the able-bodied men but left the youngster alone, the pastor related, because of his broken leg. Most of the conscripts were killed in battle. And, the father was told, it was good luck after all that his leg was broken, and he replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who can say?”
Kunkel said he heard the story from Msgr. Peter Dai Bui, a theological consultant and pastor of the Church of the Holy Spirit in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe. When he was a boy, Bui’s family had fled Communist-controlled Vietnam as “boat people.”
The story could illustrate how events may not always amount to what they seem as time passes while they unfold from the hand of God — even though tragedies are all too real as they burden a broken world.
Two largely Catholic countries were in the news in the latter part of May, both being afflicted by poisons of secular leftism.
Venezuela’s far-left dictatorship prevailed in a May 20 national election condemned as rigged by observers, while the heavy propaganda fist of international eugenicists and pro-abortionists had hammered the Republic of Ireland as a public vote approached on whether to legalize permissive abortion on May 25, the day after this hardcopy issue of The Wanderer went to press.
Next week’s Wanderer will carry coverage of the Irish referendum result.
As the 20th century ended, Venezuela began to be put in chains by revolutionary leftist dictator Hugo Chavez, who portrayed himself as a friend of the poor. Upon his early death from cancer in 2013, Chavez was succeeded by his toady Nicolas Maduro, who proceeded to use a starvation strategy to further cripple Venezuelans.
The Trump administration responded to Maduro’s May 20 vote fraud by increasing sanctions against his rule.
In the U.S., National Public Radio posted early on May 22 that President Trump said in a statement, “We call for the Maduro regime to restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression and economic deprivation of the Venezuelan people.”
The Washington Free Beacon site, explaining why U.S. sanctions weren’t heavier, posted on May 21, “President Trump and top administration officials are wary of taking any action that would further hurt the Venezuelan people, who are already suffering from widespread food shortages brought on by the economic crisis.”
NPR also posted on May 22 that “14 nations from throughout the Americas, including heavyweights such as Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, pledged to scale back diplomatic relations with Venezuela following elections over the weekend that renewed Maduro’s grip on power with a comfortable margin of victory, even though the country’s most popular leaders have been barred from running, and the opposition boycotted the vote.”
A May 21 Associated Press story said that “low turnout means Maduro’s actual vote total was lower than when he only narrowly won election for the first time in 2013.”
The Wanderer contacted a U.S.-born family member of a Venezuelan-born man whom we’ll give the pseudonym “Javier Cortez.” Cortez came to the U.S. in the 1980s, before his native land’s current persecutions began. Now, he said, “People don’t care about the election. People are starving.”
Following are Cortez’s comments, as relayed by the family member.
Back then, he recalls, before the nation’s economy was destroyed, “it was five bolivars (the national currency) to the dollar. Now it is 8 billion to the dollar, though officially it’s 8 million because they took three zeroes off.
“Everybody knows the election was rigged. The opposition has left the country or is in jail.
“The means of communication are closed to the opposition. So they say, ‘Why should we even vote? It’s a sham election.’ The voting centers are deserted.
“Nobody in my family voted. They didn’t want to legitimize something that’s rigged; they made a statement by not voting.
“The Maduro government is following the Castro mantra: Starve them to death. There is no better control than hunger. The government people are nice and fat and everything is good.
“I don’t think the poor are for Maduro anymore. They are starving, too. Unofficially, 80 percent of the population is against Maduro. You can’t find anybody that’s for him.
“A friend in Venezuela saw one guy rummaging from her garbage, taking the skin of the chicken she had thrown away. He told her he was going to make soup with it. There are beggars in my small town that was once a solid middle-class and upper-middle-class area. Not even the people who were generous and trying to help can help anymore — they don’t even have enough for themselves.
“Many members of the military are fleeing — they are going hungry, too.
“I’ve been telling my family they need to go back to the country where my grandparents had a farm. They need to grow their own food and get some chickens. It’s just not worth it to go to work anymore.
“We watched some videos on Facebook and you can see people are really angry. One young man who had fled the country is crying and cursing and saying that the election results are just one big lie. ‘Nobody in Venezuela wants you! It’s a big lie!’ Here I am in Chile trying to make a life for myself — I’ve got family members in Miami, in Peru…when is this abuse going to end? I just want to be with my family and have all of us together like it was seven or eight years ago.”

Political Prisoners

Cortez’s U.S.-born relative added, “You could also say his last trip home about three years ago left him stunned at the level of difficulty in daily life in terms of food, medicine, and safety. Although he dreamed of one day taking our family there again for a visit, it’s completely out of the question….
“Please pray for the people of Venezuela; it is a horrific situation,” the relative said.
She speculated whether a Utah man being held by the Venezuelan dictatorship could provide a reason for the Trump administration to play a further hand there.
NPR posted on May 22, “Trump also called for Venezuela to release all political prisoners, a likely reference to the case of Joshua Holt, 26-year-old Utah man who has been imprisoned without charge since he was arrested in Caracas two years ago.”
A few days earlier, NPR posted on May 17 that Holt, “a Mormon missionary from Utah jailed in Venezuela’s most notorious prison . . . has uploaded an emotional video plea for his freedom, saying that his life is under threat amid an ongoing riot by fellow inmates.”

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