Today’s preface relates to priorities of the Maduro regime.Is their focus really on the well being of the Venezuelan people? Here are just a couple of items and I assure you there are many more.Maybe that’s why my news feed shows,almost on a daily basis, a dozen or two Telesur (the Venezuelan government owned media company) articles totally unrelated to Venezuela for each one that actually pertains to something that may have an effect on the lives of Venezuelans.

 InfoDefensa  reports that Venezuela has been proceeding with a modernizing plan of 78 Scorpion 90 light tracked armored vehicles (tanks).It has also been reported that the Venezuelan Navy is arming warships with Chinese made C-802A anti-ship missiles.Articles like these combined with the common knowledge that Venezuela’s military,in general,is bloated and outsized,shows one priority.

  In case you have missed the slew of articles internationally reporting on the case of Alex Saab here’s a thumbnail sketch. Alex Saab is currently being held in Cape Verde,Africa awaiting possible extradition to the US for a number of charges including money laundering.In their usual fashion,the Maduro regime decries the persecution of this “Venezuelan diplomat.”

 Although he was appointed by the regime as ambassador to the African Union that is pure subterfuge. He is a businessman with a global network of dummy corporations and shell company accounts.He has been instrumental in a secret network of contracts,businesses,and schemes to avoid sanctions and grow the wealth of Chavista elite including Maduro.

 What is not so secret,especially if you’re Venezuelan, is his role in setting up the CLAP program which has likely involved and enriched Nicolas Maduro.For the uninitiated, the CLAP program is the Chavista’s mechanism for feeding Venezuelans but it benefits Maduro and the Chavistas far more than the Venezuelan people. More on that later but before we get to Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole here’s a good one for ya’.

 Alex Saab has been wanted by the US for some time now but has avoided apprehension by only traveling to non-extradition countries. So how did he get nabbed? His plane had to stop for fuel on it’s way to Tehran (yes,those state sponsors of terror are tight with the Chavistas) and he was detained for questioning in Cape Verde. It was no surprise to anyone that Conviasa,the Venezuelan government owned airline,shortly thereafter purchased ans Airbus capable of flying non-stop from Caracas to Tehran.I wonder how much food and medicine you can buy for the price of an Airbus like that?

 Now its back Down The Rabbit Hole….

 …..With the individual sanctions having no effect on Maduro’s behavior the US, sensing the time was right due to selective defaults,sanctioned the bond market so that the Venezuelan government couldn’t issue new debt and added more individuals to the sanction list. The cash flow was still there as were offers of humanitarian aid but Maduro continued to ignore the needs of his people.

 The outflow of migrants which had been steadily increasing now became a tsunami and for good reason. The situation for the Venezuelan people continued to deteriorate. It’s worth mentioning again, the Venezuelan people in their their typical humor,referred to the slow motion starvation as “the Maduro diet” as the average citizen lost about 20 pounds.Over the next year and a half over 3 million Venezuelans would leave their homeland.

 The sanctions kept ratcheting up now including the banking sector and more individuals. It was a measured approach designed to have an effect on the Chavistas and their irresponsible behavior while minimizing the effect on the general population. At no time,then or now,were food or medicine shipments subject to sanctions. At each step along the way Maduro steadfastly refused to do anything for the Venezuelan people and they continued to die in ever increasing numbers.

 Finally the US had to make a choice. Continue on with the plan as is and watch as the death toll mounted and the migration crisis infected (literally) the entire region or sanction PDVSA, the government owned oil business,thereby negatively impacting  96% of the government’s revenue (at least the legal revenue). The idea behind this strategy was (is) Maduro, who at the time had a 13 % approval rating, couldn’t afford to buy the loyalty of the military he would be forced to step down. These sanctions were not levied until 2019. To those of us that followed the sanctions every step of the way it was a very gradual,rational,measured approach.

 When the sanctions on PDVSA were announced the Chavistas,after first responding with “bring it on” bravado, bemoaned the fact that they wouldn’t have the much needed revenue to provide food and medicine to the Venezuelan people and the Chavistas were the first to use the 40,000 number of deaths caused by the sanctions that is so widely tossed around by all the usual suspects, supporters of the Maduro regime,or those particularly wedded to socialist ideology.So,let’s recap.

 For more than seven years the Maduro regime has had opportunity after opportunity to change policy and redirect funding to provide food and medical assistance to the Venezuelan people.They have done basically nothing as the death toll continues to mount.After years and years they did,however,allow a shipment of humanitarian aid to enter the country from the Red Cross. ONE SHIPMENT!! ( note: Maduro has recently been making nice overtures but as the saying goes ” I’ll believe it when I see it”) There has been food and medicine stockpiled in warehouses surrounding Venezuela with billions of dollars in commitments for more aid and Maduro has refused to allow it. Other shipments of humanitarian aid have been blocked or confiscated purely to profit the regime doing nothing for the Venezuelan people the Chavistas claim to care for!! (Can you tell I get a little worked up about this?) There has been some aid allowed in from Russia and China but that was administered by the Chavistas and primarily became a corruption mechanism or an extortion tool for political support.

 To be continued…….

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