Gangs Of Caracas

 OK folks, back in the saddle again. Before we head Down The Rabbit Hole here’s the latest.Funny how the Chavista’s MO is to intrude and control every aspect of life of the citizens of Venezuela except security as they rape,pillage,and plunder their way into history. The reason for this is simple and I’ve touched on it before. Chavismo only deals with issues that they can exploit to their own benefit or advantage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people acting in their own self interest as that is human nature. The problem is when there is nothing to keep that self interest in check. As Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Providing for the security of the Venezuelan people doesn’t provide the Chavistas an opportunity to benefit through corruption hence they have no interest in security. The gang violence situation in Venezuela,as a whole and Caracas in particular, is totally out of control.

 Chavismo has had a hands off attitude for a long time with gangs in the border areas, the prisons, and the big cities,specifically Caracas. Their “Colectivo” relationship certainly plays into this. Early on Chavez allowed, and even utilized, armed gangs permitting a  degree of autonomy. They could pursue their criminal enterprises as long as they could be counted upon to help control situations like protests against the government. For the Chavistas it was a win, win. They didn’t have to allocate as many resources to control protesters and these “Colectivos”, armed motorcycle gangs, afforded them plausible deniability. “Hey, we have no idea who these guys on motorcycles are.” Maybe this has something to do with the fact that 90% of reported crimes in Venezuela go unsolved.

 The criminal gang that controls the Cota 905 area of Caracas has been increasing their footprint but the story was lost among all the random violence and shootings regularly occurring in Caracas. Remember that for years Kabul, Afganistan has been safer than Caracas. The government didn’t really need to respond as the gang influence grew to include three neighborhoods and was continuing to expand. What finally compelled them to act was when the gang’s sphere of influence took over the area encompassing SEBIN ( one of Maduro’s ‘security police’) headquarters.

 In a battle that went on for days, News.AM reports, 26 killed,38 wounded as police and gangs clash.The victims included some police,some gang members, and some civilians.We’ll see where things stand after things settle down although the Chavista propaganda machine is already in gear. RT (Russia) reports government officials are blaming the violence on Colombia and the US. Shocker!

 In other news, Provea has issued their annual human rights report stating that the election of Maduro’s National Assembly (not to be confused with the legitimate 2015 National Assembly nor Maduro’s currently inactive ANC ‘ constituent assembly’) demolished the last bastion of independent power in Venezuela – in December,2020. “The dictatorial arch implemented by Maduro was completed with the slow extinction of democratic freedoms.”  US citizens….Are you paying attention?

 On the Covid front, the National Academy of Medicine has demanded again that the Health Ministry publish a vaccine plan. Didn’t the Chavistas say phase one of their plan began in February? The N A M also reiterated their request that the private sector, at their own expense, be allowed to vaccinate workers and their families which has previously not been allowed. We can’t have the government looking like they can’t get the job done now, can we?

 Now that we’re at least semi caught up let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole for a little “Tales From The Crypto” ……

 You may think you’ve seen some financial manipulation, if not outright fraud, in the last chapter. There is a reason I only briefly mentioned “el Petro” previously. The world has never seen anything like this before, literally.It was heralded as the world’s first cryptocurrency backed by the hard assets of a sovereign government. Yet another Chavismo revolutionary “way of the future.” It was going to change everything! To call it a fraud or a scam is an insult to anyone that has ever perpetuated a fraud or a scam. And what’s really crazy is they’re still peddling it today!! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ….”el Petro”!!!

 The year 2017 was a tough one for Chavismo financially. When Maduro went on his now annual trip around the globe begging for money and came home empty-handed (again) it must have seemed like the jig was finally up. His last two trips had proven fruitless and Russia and China had let him know that no new money was coming his way.The US sanctions list was growing,adding more and more individuals each time. Oil production was continuing to decline and oil prices had yet to rebound. Then something that had been coming for a long time finally happened. They defaulted on their bonds.

 They needed to come up with some money somehow to continue to buy the loyalty of the military. They could print more bolivares but as we saw last chapter nobody was really interested in bolivares. As all this was happening the financial community was fixated on the rising popularity of blockchain technology and specifically the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. It had skyrocketed from $800 to $20,000 while Chavismo’s financial resources done the exact opposite. It seemed the answer to all their problems. Just invent their own “Bitcoin.” The result is what the former bus driver turned president and his band of financial and economic illiterates came up with.

 On December 4th,2017 Maduro announced the creation of “el Petro”, the world’s first sovereign backed cryptocurrency. The trick would be that cryptos rely completely on trust, the confidence that people can buy and sell them… you know … use them as the name implies, as a currency. Credibility might be an issue considering they were broke,had no credit with anyone since they had screwed basically everyone in the world on basically every deal they ever made,and now had defaulted on their bonds for the first time in history.

 The concept to solve this problem was really not all that bad an idea. It was common knowledge that Venezuela had the largest proven oil reserves in the world. If they could leverage that as backing for their new el Petro they could generate some interest. As with all things Chavismo related the devil would be in the details.

 To be continued ….

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