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The Pirates pull out of Venezuela

Sep 13, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT

Venezuela flag

I wonder if this is something that extends beyond the Pirates and will have implications for other teams as well:

The Pirates have notified their Venezuelan academy that the organization will be terminating its lease and no longer participating in the six-team Venezuelan Summer League.¬†Though the Pirates have not commented publicly on the situation, the instability and political climate in Venezuela is thought to have played a large role in the organization’s decision to pull out.

Lots of good ballplayers in Venezuela. If fewer teams have academies down there, there will be fewer opportunities to discover them.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Crap! How much lower can my birth country sink? Up till now Winter Ball has been largely isolated from the trials & errors of that godforsaken land, and this happens!?!?!? Just awful!

    • Old Gator - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:59 PM

      It wasn’t your birth country that made this decision. Our clueless state department – which clearly doesn’t understand how its continued patronizing and bullying of Latin American countries just keeps on backfiring on us – may well be somewhere behind this move. And considering that, despite the relative shrinkage of his majority from his two initial landslide wins, Chavez keeps on winning elections that the OAS monitors and approves, and commanding pretty high approval numbers in just about every poll that’s been taken there, the “instability” the Pirates are worried about is more imputed than real. I’m not crazy about Chavez myself but as long as we go on failing to respect majority rule in other countries, we’re going to go on making enemies gratuitously. Democracy’s a great thing, we insist – until someone we don’t like gets elected.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Good. Best news I heard all day. Chavez is an enemy of the United States and a dictator in his own country. I hope the U.S pulls out all of our interests and places an embargo/sanctions on that country. Screw the oil. We can always find more.

    • dailyrev - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:30 PM

      yep, paint it black and white, good and evil, us and them. It’s not as if that mindset got us into an Endless State of Perpetual War, right? Demonize away, that what Murka’s all about!!!

    • Old Gator - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:07 PM

      Ain’t gonna happen, Hal. For what particular offense against American interests are we supposed to sanction him – for calling Bush a mass murderer at the UN? Hell, I call him that on a daily basis. As far as I know he hasn’t taken up arms against any Americans, and unless you think donating free heating oil to impoverished Americans warrants retaliation, it’d be pretty hard to come up with many concrete examples of direct adversarial conduct against us that was more than a lot of grandstanding and bloviation. He may be a blusterer and a clown in your eyes, but he’s no dictator; he and the representatives supporting him keep getting re-elected even while their electoral majorities shrink as the economic situation worsens and people begin opening their eyes at the new forms of corruption his government has introduced. Back some years ago when he attempted to reform the constitution, the reform lost – and he made the changes in the system he needed to make to get the rest of his reforms passed. No “dictatorial” imposition, just lots of good old fashioned electioneering not unlike the same sort of bullshit that goes down routinely over here. Name the last dictatorship that freely admitted to its declining election results, or that routinely won multiparty elections monitored by the OAS. ‘Course another “anti-communist” mass murderer in the mold of Pinochet may be your cup of tea, but what then of “democracy”?

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 14, 2011 at 8:57 AM

        Wow Gator…if I didn’t know better I would think you have Chavez envy. Please know I fully understand your point in regards to our GREAT Country playing “World Police.” Personally, I don’t like it either and it’s no wonder we are detested as a result by communist countries and there dictators (which Chavez most certainly IS…and we we will have to agree to disagree on that). But it’s almost like your defending him…and for me…that is tough to swallow.

      • Old Gator - Sep 14, 2011 at 9:21 AM

        Actually, I did specifically say that I don’t care for Chavez, though I approve of many of his social programs, especially in medical care, job creation, economic diversification, land redistribution and new housing construction. It would be great if he would stop his buffoonish globetrotting and cozying up to slugs like Lukashenko, Mugabe and Ahmadinejad, and concentrate on eliminating cronyism at home and on getting those programs to run better. But when you meddle in a country’s affairs and try to arrange to have the elected leader of a government overthrown and murdered, as we tried to do in Venezuela, you shouldn’t be surprised to see that leader forging alliances with other enemies of yours. There’s an old Arab saying that works well across the board: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That’s how we make enemies for ourselves, and we never seem to learn from it.

        Even so, on my trips to Venezuela I’ve seen an enormous difference in the morale of the formerly hopeless poor – and visited the new clinics, job centers and schools. Pretty impressive accomplishments. What’s damaged the economy in Venezuela – after a decade or more of steady GNP growth, by the way – has been capital flight by rich Venezuelans and foreign businesses who would rather maintain their privileged status than participate in creating a more equitable society and, one suspects, by economic sabotage by, shall we say, parties with interests in destabilizing the Chavez government’s accomplishments. As far as his being a dictator, I’ve participated in plenty of public discussions with students, residents, dissidents, you name it who have no identifiable fears of voicing their negative opinions about what’s going on there. I’d also point out that Venezuela has no death penalty – a civilizing evolution that this fat happy country of ours has yet to achieve – which is an odd thing for a “dictatorship” to endorse, given what a repressive tool it can be. And the leaders of the military coup against the elected government of Chavez were all pardoned and had their sentences commuted very soon after their convictions – again, odd behavior for a “dictatorship,” no?

        And there aren’t really any other “communist” countries left out there, any more than there are any purely capitalist countries out there – just a few stolidly autocratic places like China, who at the moment are playing the capitalist game a lot better than we are, and a few hardcore backwater bungholes like North Korea who are no more communist than any other despotisms using an ideology they don’t even practice to cover up their paranoia and brutality. Chavez is the closest thing to a Marxist idealist effectively practicing in Latin America. Aside from that, it isn’t communist countries that hate us. It’s Roman Catholic countries. It’s small countries. It’s Europe, India and Canada. It’s mixed economic system countries. It’s Muslim countries. It’s all kinds of countries who resent our arrogance, paternalism and interference in their internal affairs.

        Stop oversimplifying the problem and making us sound, naively, like angels. We ain’t. Your recourse to “communists” makes you sound like a dinosaur – and the political meteor hit a long time ago.

  3. cogitobaseballergosum - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    A frustrated Venezuela could not be reached for comment…

  4. reospeedwagon916 - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Alonso de Ojeda “Likes” this.

  5. clydeserra - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    The Pirates are pulling out of the Caribbean?

    • Old Gator - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:26 PM

      After taking Thurman Munson in trade for the fishing rights to Roberto Clemente.

  6. bsputnik - Sep 14, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Nonono….everyone has it wrong it wrong. Especially halladaysbiceps who seems to be on quite the xenophobic tirade today. It has nothing to do with the situation with Chavez or politics in Venezuela. This has everything to do with my Buccos being a completely incompetent organization once again doing something to hurt its baseball prospects in order to ensure they stay irrelevant.

    Just because Chavez wants the US out of his county’s business doesn’t make him wrong. It makes us wrong. He has not done one thing to the US, not one. I don’t like his philosophy, but we have no reason to think he is our enemy any more than any other oil exporter.

    • Old Gator - Sep 14, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      Yikes! Lucidity! Go away – pretty soon you’ll have Republicans thinking clearly and tip the planet off its axis!

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