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Monday, May 6, 2019

failure of socialism in Venezuela ~ US Hospital ship USNS Comfort

A tale of a ship - like her sister ship USNS Mercy, Comfort was built as a San Clemente-class oil tanker in 1976 by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company. Her original name was SS Rose City and she was launched from San Diego, California.  Her career as an oil tanker ended when she was delivered to the U.S. Navy in Dec 1987..  ..  she is in news now !!  ~ as also failure of socialism !

The oil rich Venezuela is in the midst of a political turmoil.  Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, and the country’s economy is largely tied to its oil wealth. This oil wealth once made the nation one of the richest in Latin America and helped stabilize its democracy although the riches were not equally shared. But the past few years have seen the economy spiral toward collapse.

The legacy of President Hugo Chávez — Venezuela’s former leader and founder of the country’s modern socialist system — still hangs over the nation more than six years after his death.  Mr. Chávez came to power in 1998, elected after a failed coup. He quickly rose from political outsider to popular figurehead, bringing in a socialist ideology that redistributed the country’s oil wealth and created a robust social welfare program.His government seized private factories, mines and fields, and founded state companies and cooperatives. High oil prices contributed to a short-term reduction in inequality and poverty as social programs made food, housing and health care more widely available. Though he was re-elected in 2006 — his leftist ideology and bombastic approach to foreign relations proved polarizing and eventually plunging the Nation into deeper turmoil.

A slow-simmering political crisis that has gripped Venezuela for months appeared to be coming to a head this week as opposition politicians issued a direct challenge to the authority of President Nicolás Maduro.The leader of the opposition, Juan Guaidó, called for a military and popular uprising to oust Mr. Maduro from office, triggering a day of protest that turned violent but later fizzled. Mr. Maduro characterized the action as unconstitutional, while Mr. Guaidó maintained it was a necessary move to restore legitimacy to the presidency.Both sides now seem to be scrambling for control, with Mr. Maduro appearing alongside troops on Thursday to reaffirm his status and Mr. Guaidó admitting he does not have the necessary support.

Even as there were speculations of US army entering the fray .. comes the news of the Defense Department deciding to send a Navy hospital ship to help alleviate a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as senior national security officials convened at the Pentagon to discuss military options for pressuring the country's president to step down.

USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is the third United States Navy ship to bear the name Comfort, and the second Mercy-class hospital ship to join the U.S. Navy's fleet. The USNS prefix identifies Comfort as a non-commissioned ship owned by the U.S. Navy and operationally crewed by civilians from the Military Sealift Command (MSC). A uniformed naval hospital staff and naval support staff is embarked when Comfort is deployed, said staffs consisting primarily of naval officers from the Navy's Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Chaplain Corps, and naval enlisted personnel from the Hospital Corpsman rating and various administrative and technical support ratings (e.g., Yeoman, Personnel Specialist, Information Systems Technician, Religious Program Specialist, etc.).

In keeping with her status as a non-combatant vessel, naval personnel from the "combat" specialties are not assigned as regular crew or staff. In accordance with the Geneva Conventions, Comfort and her crew do not carry any offensive weapons. Firing upon Comfortwould be considered a war crime as the ship only carries weapons for self-defense.  Officials said the Comfort, a 1,000-bed vessel, probably would be sent off the coast of northern Colombia, near enough to treat refugees who have fled Venezuela.

President Trump seemed to play down potential U.S. military action to push out Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after Trump spent an hour on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Putin "is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he'd like to see something positive happen for Venezuela," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. Trump said he feels "the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid."The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin warned Trump during the call against "outside interference" in Venezuela's internal affairs and "attempts to change the government in Caracas by force."Some members of Congress appeared to urge more muscular action. "Where is our aircraft carrier," tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Trump's lack of concern about Russian assistance to Maduro appeared at odds with Bolton, who has repeatedly warned that Russian and Cuba must stop propping up Maduro with military aid and advisors."The United States will not tolerate foreign military interference in the Western Hemisphere," Bolton tweeted Friday after the Pentagon meeting. "President Trump has made it clear that there will be costs for those who further Maduro's usurpation and repression."U.S. military officials have argued against direct intervention, but under orders from the White House, they have devised an array of options for raising the pressure on Maduro, officials said, along with less aggressive moves aimed at alleviating humanitarian suffering.

The Navy hospital ship carried out a similar humanitarian mission late last year. The Pentagon could also take other steps, such as delivering aid, perhaps in collaboration with allies in the region, officials said."Right now, people are starving. They have no water, they have no food," Trump said. "So we want to help on a humanitarian basis."

Lot happening over there .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th May 2019.

News collated  from BBC, Wikipedia and

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