Before we go Down The Rabbit Hole I gotta’ say I sometimes amaze myself. I don’t know if it was clairvoyance,premonition, or ESPN but do you remember when I mentioned Leopoldo Lopez yesterday? He of the 14 year sentence for encouraging peaceful protests.Well it seems the Chavistas haven’t forgotten him. Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez now says that Lopez,along with Freddy Guevara and 6 others,not to mention Colombia and the US,is to blame for the Cota 905 violence. You know, 26 killed,38 wounded and counting. And,of course,they have proof! This time it’s snippets from WhatsApp chats ,”but not actual criminal conversations, but we have a phone.” Huh? As I write this I’m wearing my “Libertad Ya” tee shirt even though Lopez fled the country some time ago.
OilPrice.com reports that major shipping companies are cracking down on STS (ship to ship) transfers and cargo masking to combat schemes used primarily by Venezuela and Iran to export oil while under sanctions. It’s nice to know they’re paying attention but these guys are pretty good at this stuff. The Chavistas and the Mullahs have been at this for a while now.
There’s just no getting away from Cuba and Venezuela being inextricably linked as citizens of both Marxist regimes continue to starve and endure other harsh, inhuman conditions. Our Caracas Chronicles amigos said that even though we haven’t seen it yet you can’t help but see the parallels between today and 1994, the year of the mass exodus of Cubans to Miami. That was during what is called Cuba’s “Special Period” meaning the height of the suffering for the Cuban people. It was after the fall of the USSR so the Soviets were not around to prop up Fidel and before Chavez came to the rescue. Both then and now conditions in Cuba rapidly deteriorate when someone isn’t making basically free oil available. They need it for both power generation and to generate revenue through resale. It was the Russians before Soviet communism collapsed and then the Venezuelans before Chavismo collapsed. While it’s not quite as drastic as the nineties when oil imports from the USSR dropped to zero the Cuban imports from Venezuela have dropped from about 100,000 bpd (barrels per day) down to about 25,000 bpd. With oil trading between $60 – $70 bucks a barrel that 75,000 bpd of oil at no charge would come in handy, especially when Cuba basically has no economy of it’s own since Fidel chased everybody away. Sound familiar?
Argus Media reports that even though the US has eased restrictions on LPG exports to Venezuela there still won’t be trade volume like there used to be. The Chavistas have no money (just like the Cuban communists) and the LPG export licenses have no provision for swapping crude oil for LPG. Looks like it’s still going to be electric hot plates (when there’s power) and wood fires for a while yet in Venezuela.
Let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole shall we?
….Also in Decree 3.196 two different prices are referenced for a barrel of oil. One refers to the OPEC basket price of oil while the other references the Venezuelan basket price which are far apart (the Venezuelan price is much lower) not to mention the OPEC price is denominated in dollars while the Venezuelan price is denominated in yuan due to Maduro’s disdain for the evil capitalist US dollar. (although his bank accounts don’t show a similar disdain)
“Maduro announces economic overhaul tying new currency and minimum wage to Petro.”
“Petro will be additional unit of account for banks.” Banks now list balances in both bolivares soberanos and Petros (they could have four units of account,the Petro, the boivar,the strong bolivar,and the sovereign bolivar)
“Maduro claims Petro will be used for international commercial transactions.”
“Maduro announces special cryptocurrency teams to conduct crypto mining nationwide.”
“Maduro announces official Petro sales to begin Nov.5th” note: no mention is made of the previous launches nor previous white papers (the total is now 7 for something that usually requires 1)
“Maduro says he has a schedule for oil to be sold in Petros for 2019.”
“Maduro announces fuel for airlines to be sold in Petros.”
“Maduro decrees public authorities and entities must also promote and guarantee the use of cryptocurrency in the public sector.”
“Maduro announces central crypto mining registry.” note: Without getting into the specifics of crypto mining it is essentially adding a block in a blockchain which works as a de facto auditing process as well as facilitating trades and earning the miners cryptocurrency. It’s a flawed explanation but it’s all I’ve got.
I could go on with the announcements,decrees,changes,etc. but…my head would explode. Why don’t we just say that nobody seems to be really sure exactly what el Petro is, what it’s worth, how it can be used/traded,how much has been sold, and most importantly, what other changes/reconfigurations are coming and are there any protections for the buyer (other than oil/whatever,that doesn’t really seem to exist for now).We already know that the government has been raiding crypto miners, jailing them,confiscating their equipment, or extorting them into working for the government. Doesn’t that make you want to run out and get on that crypto registry?
There are also conflicting versions of exactly who is and isn’t required to accept el Petro for payment of goods and services,exactly what those goods and services are, and if you are required to accept them how do you do so since there is no mechanism in place for processing payments although the government says there is. Maybe it’s just like everything else in Venezuela, there is a system it just doesn’t work.
At this point it doesn’t appear that there are really any online purchases/trades of el Petro.There have been some individuals,much hyped by the government, that have purchased PTR in person at the office,you know,old school style.There were photos of a Chinese government official leaving the office with his certificate of ownership in hand splashed everywhere. As with all other things Chavismo related nobody asks the question,” So what can that guy do with that piece of paper?”
To be continued……
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