The New Colonialists

 We don’t have a Down The Rabbit Hole Segment today but “No te preocupes”, there’s plenty to get to. When we continue going Down The Rabbit Hole on Monday we’ll delve into the insidious nature of “The Card”.

 Before we move on I want to look back at the last couple of days on “El Dorado” and how with the declaration of “The Mining Arc” Maduro has revived misery for the indigenous peoples of the region. For all their constant bluster about the oppressive “colonialists” ie; The US, I couldn’t help thinking yesterday,as we finished “El Dorado”, the Chavistas seem to be following the conquistador playbook,at least as far as treatment of the Pemon people. Five Hundred years ago the Spanish explorers came to the region and exposed the Pemon to diseases they had never encountered as well as oppression and exploitation not to mention killing them in violent confrontations. After Simon Bolivar, The Great Liberator, freed Venezuela from Spanish colonization the Pemon lived for hundreds of years in more or less obscurity which I’m sure was fine with them. Without the Spanish colonialists life returned to it’s pre-colonialist nature. Enter Chavismo…the diseases are back along with the oppression and exploitation and let’s not forget killing them in violent confrontations. For the Pemon, life under the Chavistas doesn’t appear to be all that different than life under Spanish rule. With parallels like these you have to wonder, are the Chavistas “The New Colonialists”?

 Before we move on how about a little adding insult to injury? For the elections in 2020 the CNE (electoral council) instituted temporary election regulations for the region where the Pemon live. Without reason or explanation (as the Chavistas are prone to do) the CNE suspended traditional voting rights in the region. You know, one individual votes for an individual candidate. This was replaced by a system of delegates voting on behalf of indigenous peoples. I wonder if they felt it was necessary since the Chavistas had to disallow their choices in 2015? Just more of the authoritarianism that is Chavismo.

 Oh, I almost forgot…in the unintended consequences category, at least I assume they’re unintended consequences, with the rise of the previously eradicated diseases of malaria,diphtheria,measles,even polio(yes, polio) many indigenous people are dying because due to the collapse of the healthcare system and the severe fuel shortages people in life threatening health situations can’t be transported to receive the care they need…and the indigenous peoples also have the highest percentage of food insecurity.

 Next up, the AP reports this headline, “Hyperinflation,US Dollars Pricing Out Venezuela Consumers”. As I recount many of the tales of woe afflicting the Venezuelan people I’m often asked “How do they survive?” In the AP article they say 40% of Venezuelan households receive remittances from abroad, mostly from family members that have previously fled the oppressive Maduro regime. Two years ago the government changed it’s monetary policy regarding the use of US dollars allowing their use by individuals and businesses in Venezuela. This ended most of the food shortages created by the necessity of paying for goods and services in bolivares. The problem is all of these imported items are not affordable without dollars. The 40% of households receiving remittances in dollars from abroad can survive (just barely) but what about the other 60%? Well.. between 2013 – 2019 per capita consumption of protein is down 60%,chicken consumption is down 82%, and eggs down 66% to name a few. The UN World Food Program reports 6.3% of Venezuelan children are acutely malnourished,13.4% are stunted,and 30% are anemic.Oh, and 24% of women are anemic as well. With 60% of transactions in Venezuela now conducted in US dollars it’s clear,to survive you need dollars.

 Hey, you ever notice that all these studies referenced by all these organizations show Venezuela’s rapid decline (some say death spiral) began in 2013,the year Maduro took office? Just thinkin’….

 In International Liberty,Dan Mitchell, had an interesting observation from Colombia where he had a speaking engagement. In Cartagena,Colombia there are many beggars but they are not like the well fed homeless people seen in the US. Many are gaunt women and children and many of those Venezuelan. He went on to say he couldn’t help thinking about the multi-billion dollar fortune amassed by Hugo Chavez’s daughter…..

 Caracas Chronicles had a good article about the state (not State) of Venezuela as we head into the negotiations in Mexico between the Maduro regime and the opposition. In two years, pre-corona to now, Venezuela has gone from “a murky shade of hope” to “rock hard resignation”. There are still frequent and lengthy blackouts but at least they’re not on the nationwide massive scale and days long duration as experienced a couple of years ago. The unofficial dollarization helps the wealthy and the Chavistas but,as for the rest, well…. Any reactivation of life and society in Venezuela must include the reactivation of the oil sector. So far it’s been all Chavista ‘happy talk’ and no action. (and from me: don’t forget the report from PDVSA that to reach pre-Chavismo levels of production they will need at least $58 billion, an enormous amount of money,especially in Venezuela) The article went on to say the regime will continue to use Cuba and Iran as models for how to survive under US sanctions. Most Venezuelans understand that no one will save them…they’re on their own.

 Did you see,or not see, that the Ministries of Sports and Communication censored (barred) independent media coverage of the Venezuelan Olympians return to Caracas? They said they didn’t have the proper credentials. Huh? Aren’t those the same credentials they need to cover the news every day? Oh, that’s right, Chavismo doesn’t allow news coverage every day.

 And then we have Doctor Julio Castro saying there are over 600,000 Venezuelans waiting for their second shot of the Russian vaccine,Sputnik V. He says there aren’t any now and won’t be for months. There was no forward guidance about what the people waiting should do. My guess is they’ll have to go back to square one, forget about that first dose, and rely on more of those vaccines the regime is always talking about.(the ones they don’t tell you are still in clinical trials)

 Had enough for one day? No worries…we’ll have more tomorrow.

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