VENEZUELA’S DESCENT INTO HELL

Nicolas Maduro has been President of Venezuela for four years. His Presidency a steady decline to the gates of Hell. First no toilet paper. Then no food. Finally, pets and zoo animals eaten. Along the way, people disappearing or killed.

Today, Venezuela stands at those gates. It is election day. A special election day. Maduro wants to replace Venezuela’s National Assembly and adopt a new Constitution. The new National Assembly will be composed of persons nominated by Maduro. The new Constitution will give him the powers of a dictator.

I have written about Venezuela the four years Maduro has been President. I was intrigued when the nation ran out of toilet paper.

It has bothered me the people never revolted. They protest in huge numbers. In recent weeks, a handful have clashed with Maduro supporters.

Turns out Cuba is behind it all. Yes, our tiny neighbor 90 miles to the south. Cuba is responsible for everything that has been happening in Venezuela.

Cuba is the power. It controls the levers of power. The government and those who support it.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote an excellent opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal’s July 17, 2017 edition. Titled: How Cuba Runs Venezuela.

Cuba has been trying for 50 years to sow its ideological revolution in South America. Concerning Venezuela, it has succeeded.

Cuba needs Venezuela to transport Colombian cocaine to the United States and to Africa to supply Europe. It also relies heavily on cut-rate Venezuelan oil.

Cuba has established a Soviet type hold on Venezuela. Working in Venezuela are 50 high ranking Cuban military officers, 4,500 Cuban soldiers, and 34,000 doctors and health professionals who are there to defend Cuba’s tyranny with arms if necessary.

Thousands of other Cubans hold high level Venezuelan government positions.

The Cubans have toilet paper and eat well.

Similar to Soviet oversight, each Venezuelan military commander has a civilian minder. A person who watches every turn and reports to higher ups any deviation from expected conduct.

I find it amazing how relatively silent the American media has been over the years re Cuba’s influence.

Today’s election is most important. I fear Maduro and his followers will win. Nothing good can come from the victory for the Venezuelan people and the rest of the world.

Last week when Trump lifted our new relationship with Cuba, I thought he was succumbing to that small group of Cubans who had to flee Cuba fifty and more years ago and now reside in Miami. A poor reason I thought.

Now, I wonder if Trump was motivated to show the world he stood against the evils imposed by Cuba upon Venezuela.

Regardless, the Monroe Doctrine has been forgotten.

Yesterday was Saturday. It became my Sunday. My lazy day.

I never left the house. Read, wrote, napped and watched TV.

Hackley’s journal has suggested, at least to me, that Hackley used slaves. Not as an owner. He rented them.

Further indication of Hackley as a lessee is found in his entry of this date in 1856. Hackley speaks of his cook Black Matilda. It was yellow fever time. He wrote she had “some fever and pains in the head.”

Hackley got Black Matilda out of the house immediately. Delivered her to someone else to worry about.

Some generally unaware history concerning Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West to this day loves Harry Truman.

On this date in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law. He did so at the Truman Library in Independence. Truman was still alive and attended.

Why the Truman Library and in Truman’s presence?

Truman was the first President to propose national health insurance. Congress opposed. He could never get it passed.

Johnson further paid tribute to Truman by enrolling Truman as Medicare’s first beneficiary.

Enjoy your Sunday!

MARTHA WASHINGTON AND BESS TRUMAN BIRDS OF A FEATHER

John from the Chart Room had a night off. We did dinner together at Hot Tin Roof. Good food and good company! As usual, the Hot Tin Roof was packed.

I asked in yesterday’s blog…..Where was the U.S.S. Vinson? It was supposed to be in North Korean waters. Nothing had been mentioned as to its location for almost two weeks.

My inquiry was premature by several hours. Yesterday afternoon it was announced the Vinson had arrived in Korean waters and was engaged in war games with South Korea. TV this morning is showing videos of the Vinson and smaller vessels in Korean waters.

Today, there is a Coast Guard cutter named the U.S.S. Mohawk. Stationed here in Key West. Yesterday, yesterday being 1859-1864, there was a screw steamship in the Navy named the U.S.S. Mohawk.

I write about the Mohawk of old because yesterday was significant in its history. An event which ultimately became even more significant in Key West history.

In 1860, the Mohawk was operating against pirates and slavers off the east coast and in the Caribbean. On April 28, 1860, the Mohawk captured the slave ship Wildfire. The Wildfire carried 530 slaves from Africa. The crew and slaves were delivered to Key West.

The crew was imprisoned. The slaves placed in a compound under the protection of the Mohawk’s Marines.

Subsequently, vessels of the United States captured two more slave ships. The slaves on each were delivered to Key West and placed in the same compound as those from the Wildfire. Total number of slaves exceeded 1,200.

What to do with the slaves? Obviously return them to Africa. Where in Africa, however? Ultimately decided to relocate all of them to Liberia, a country in Africa. President James Monroe had as a practical matter returned previous slaves to Liberia. Liberia was a welcoming place for returned Africans. They created a new society.

Not all the slaves confined in Key West were returned. Some had died. Two hundred ninety five. They were buried on Higgs Beach. Many years later in recent times, their graves were discovered. A small monument sits on Higgs Beach recognizing the final resting place of those who did not live to return to Africa.

The Mohawk continued functioning till 1864 during the Civil War in defense of the United States. The Mohawk is the reason Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortuga’s and Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West remained in Union hands.

Beat up from combat, its boilers to badly damaged, its general condition unfit for further fights, the Mohawk was sold in 1864.

It was renamed the Alliance and remained in commercial service till 1869 when it was wrecked at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina.

Martha Washington and Bess Truman may be described as birds of a feather. Neither was happy her husband became President and each was less than supportive of her husband during his days as President.

Bess Truman’s story is more familiar to us. Perhaps because of its closeness in time.

Note the many trips by President Truman to Key West. Eleven. Consumed 175 days. Bess was with him only a few times. While Truman was living and working in Washington, Bess was home in Independence. She preferred the company of her Independence lady friends.

Martha’s questionable helping hand less known.

Washington was sworn in for his first term as President in New York City on this date in 1789. Martha was not with him. She was back in Mount Vernon.

Washington was tired/beat up prior to making the trip from Mount Vernon to Washington. He was trying to close down the business end of Mount Vernon. There were bills to pay. He had a difficult time arranging for a loan to cover them.

Martha was not happy he had agreed to become President. She was tired of public life. Wanted to live the rest of her days in Mount Vernon as a domestic wife. She abhorred politics. She refused to join her husband in New York City for the inauguration.

A comment or two on Washington’s inauguration.

His inaugural speech was important to him. He had several persons helping him. One by one in succession. Over a period of several months. He was displeased with every rendition. He finally called in James Madison for help. Madison spent a week at Mount Vernon helping Washington knock out the final draft.

There was a reception following Washington’s swearing in. It is recorded that Washington mentioned to some in attendance that democracy was fragile. He hoped what they had created would survive.

It did. Still fragile, however. You never know what could happen. Especially in the sensitive times we live in.

Enjoy your Sunday!