Dying Like Dogs

Do you remember Duglimar’s quote, “In Venezuela you go to the hospital to die.”? If so then you shouldn’t be surprised by the headline in Caracas Chronicles “They’re dying like dogs.” from family members of Covid 19 unit patients in Barinas Razetti Hospital in Venezuela decrying the lack of supplies and personnel. The healthcare system in Venezuela was in a death spiral before Covid,before sanctions,etc. For more details you can read the first series of blog posts that include “An all too common conversation” from the “Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole” segment in each post. This is just another example of many.

 Human Rights Watch had a great piece on Zombie Democracies (democracies in name only) around the world. Of particular interest to me, since I’m all about bringing light to the darkness that is the Venezuela situation, was the mentioning of the autocracies in Venezuela and Nicaragua. The point of the article was that countries that want to retain a genuine democracy must call out these Zombies and stop giving them a pass. I’m reminded of Teddy Roosevelt, “For God’s sake, do something!”

 Remember all the happy talk from the Maduro regime recently about their spirit of cooperation for investigating Human Rights violations? You know, telling Michele Bachelet with the UN and Karim Khan with the ICC how anxious the are to help them. Well, it seems that while they were saying this “Happy H….S…” they detained nurse Ada Macuare, who was demanding better wages and a vaccination plan from the regime. She is charged with terrorism. (It must be one of those ‘Hate Law” kinda’ deals)

 Another day another Chavista committee investigating “actions against the republic”. They published a list of 2015 AN deputies ( the last National Assembly Representatives elected without massive fraud) they want to attend a hearing regarding the mismanagement of CITGO and others. My first thought…. scapegoating anyone? My second thought… how many people on that list have already fled Venezuela?

 So, you think you have inflation? The President of the Venezuela Association of Family Agriculture reports that for the first half of 2021 food prices are up 1,600%.

 Now might be a good time to head back Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Another victim to Chavista scapegoating was the warehousing/distribution system. They took a big hit in 2014 and never recovered. The warehousing/distribution companies came under fire during the “guarimba”,the protests spurred by the food shortages in 2014 caused by the ludicrous price controls. (40 ‘guarimberos’ were killed)  Maduro had to blame somebody for the empty supermarket shelves so anyone with a warehouse was an easy target. Inspectors,backed up by the National Guard, would show up at a warehouse, seize whatever food was there, jail someone from management, and have it delivered to the supermarkets.”Hoarding by those greedy speculators” would not be tolerated by “The Revolution”.

 That pretty much killed the idea of an orderly flow of food to the supermarkets. Trucks would go from a processing facility directly to the supermarkets and unload whatever products they had for the waiting crowds. It was chaotic. Some locations got big deliveries while others got nothing.( I wonder if how connected you were to the Chavistas had anything to do with that?) News of pending deliveries was leaked via social media and finding out what product was being delivered where,then going and waiting in line for it, became a full time job. Work attendance and school attendance became an afterthought as families concentrated their efforts on chasing food deliveries.

 When the Chavistas weren’t busy destroying farming,putting all the supporting companies out of business, you know, everything from machinery parts for both the farmers and the food processors to seed and fertilizer etc., and dismantling the warehousing/distribution network they directed their efforts to fraudulent schemes purported to feed the people.

 One such scheme was a 2010 project launched by Chavez with China’s CAMC Engineering Company. It was promoted as a comprehensive project including the largest rice-processing facility in Latin America and rice paddies twice the size of Manhattan. $100,000,000 was allocated (a lot of money down there) and after nine years the project remains half-built although the money was not half-spent.At one of the buildings for the Hugo Chavez Plant they had a ribbon cutting ceremony with Maduro’s Agricultural Minister doing the honors.The visuals on Venezuela’s state run media were impressive, silos and everything! Looks can be deceiving. It turns out that inside the facility workers were packing IMPORTED RICE by hand instead of utilizing proposed machinery capable of processing 18 tons per hour.

 And the Hugo Chavez Plant,which hasn’t produced a single grain of local rice, was just the tip of the iceberg. CAMC was paid over $3 billion for at least five projects that were never completed.As with all other Chavismo-related frauds this is one piece of a complex puzzle.PDVSA Agricola,a new unit developed by Chavez to boost agricultural production,handled the contracts.The money went from the China Development Bank to Venezuela’s development bank and was doled out from there. Remember, 60% of Venezuelan government spending goes through FONDEN which isn’t subject to oversight so the forensic accountants have their work cut out for them.So far $32 billion has been tracked plus another $6 billion from an infrastructure fund created by Chavez. The ongoing investigation has already revealed dozens of people with millions of dollars going to each of them. In one of the interviews it was said “There were guys carrying around briefcases full of contracts”. It’s worth noting that Venezuelan state run media has yet to report on any of this.

 There was another example from 2019 showing the complete disdain “The Revolution” actually has for the people. At the time I wrote this : As of this writing, we are currently in the second week of a hunger strike by former PDVSA workers. They are protesting the government’s lack of response to their request for money promised to them by Hugo Chavez so this goes back a ways. (Maduro took power in 2013) Funny thing is, the money he promised was put in an account that was supposed to pay them in dollars. The government is using outdated exchange rates from the time of the agreement and doling out a meager amount to them in bolivares, so it’s a win/win for Maduro. He’s fulfilling the promise made by Chavez (technically) and with the favorable rates he’s using he’s paying out almost nothing. It’s somewhat of a double whammy for the workers.They are on a hunger strike while their families and those around them are starving!

 To be continued…..




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