Before we go Down The Rabbit Hole to get started on “The Card” here’s a few items from the weekend. The headline in Oilprice.com says it all.”Venezuela Oil Reserves Doomed To Become World’s Largest Stranded Asset.”As the green energy push intensifies around the globe oil majors are transitioning away from high cost carbon intensive projects. Venezuela does have the world’s largest proven oil reserves but 77% or more are extra heavy crude in the Orinoco Belt,very high cost and very carbon intensive. So much so that,as we’ve mentioned before, not all refineries can process it leaving Venezuela with a limited customer base.
If you want a good example of oil majors transitioning away from Venezuela’s extra heavy crude you need look no further than the Petrocedeno project.The purpose of the joint venture was utilization of extra heavy crude and now Total (France) and Equinor (Norway) have pulled out. As we’ve said, Chavismo has tried to spin this as “PDVSA is now sole proprietor of Petrocedeno” like it was a good thing instead of a headline like ” Total and Equinor are running away from anything to do with PDVSA and it’s extra heavy crude.”
In our “Killing The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs” Down The Rabbit Hole segment we into great detail about how the Chavistas completely ruined on of the worlds strongest,most profitable companies.PDVSA’s infrastructure is destroyed. It’s personnel are all working for other companies or have left the oil business altogether so there are few if any qualified personnel left at PDVSA or in Venezuela for that matter. The head of PDVSA and the head of Venezuela’s economy combined have a total of ZERO years business experience and a total of ZERO training and experience in economics and finance.
PDVSA issued a report saying it would need $58 billion to restore oil production to pre Chavez levels. As bad as that is it may be overly optimistic. Oil experts (real ones) at The Baker Institute say a minimum of $110 billion is needed and it still won’t reach pre Chavez levels. As an earlier quote said, “Nobody wants to work with these guys” or as we would say ” They’re doomed!”
As the talks got underway between the Maduro regime and the opposition over the weekend in Mexico it was hard to find a news outlet or government that didn’t issue a statement on said talks. However, they were almost all differently worded versions of the same thing…Venezuelan Government and opposition sign memorandum to seek resolution…bla..bla..bla,. It was max hype with minimum content.I would venture to say that the odds of success are right up there with the Palestinian peace process. Hey, doesn’t Hezbollah have a significant presence in both Venezuela and the Middle East? Just sayin’….
Insight Crime tells us that Venezuela prison gangs support various PSUV (Chavista) candidates in the upcoming elections.This should come as no surprise as the government views them as militia just like they view the ‘colectivos’,you know,the motorcycle gangs. The Venezuela Prisons Minister famously said “If the US threatens us with 5,000 Marines we have 45,000 inmates.”
Now it’s time to get started with “The Card” so Down The Rabbit Hole we go…..
Chapter 10/The Card
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have,nor do they deserve either one.” Benjamin Franklin
“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Ronald Regan
Extort – To exact or wrest from, to get by threat,violence
“The Carnet De La Patria” (the homeland or fatherland card) was launched as a mechanism to streamline receipt of government payments and/or benefits. Sounds quite benevolent huh? Well, only if the issuer has your best interest at heart and not their own. Perhaps a closer look is warranted.
Although the Carnet de la Patria was launched by Maduro in 2016 the foundation was laid years earlier by Hugo Chavez. In April,2008 Chavez sent a delegation to China to visit the technology hub of Shenzhen and the home of Chinese tech giant, ZTE. China was already at the forefront of utilizing technology to further it’s “Big Brother” pursuits.Chavez billed the visit as an effort to help the undocumented Venezuelans who might have difficulty opening a bank account,voting,etc. Sounds well intended enough. ( What was it that Grandma used to say? The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)
One member of this group was Anthony Daquin, technical advisor and delegation member. He was amazed by the Chinese smart card system and it’s vast database. Through the card they could monitor every aspect of a person’s life,social,political, and economic behavior. Although still in the early stages of it’s development it was easy enough for Daquin to see the tremendous possibilities as technology advanced. The Chinese were already accumulating data and rating/scoring it’s citizens.Uhh, OK but do you get the same credit for being a dependable, hard worker as you do for being a loyal party member? Can you say “Cultural Revolution?” For those who don’t know, the “Cultural Revolution” in China under Chairman Mao had similar ideals and was ultimately responsible for killing millions. (He is still a hero today to communists worldwide)
Such was the quandary for Daquin.Right behind his amazement of the technology and the potential for doing a lot of good was his fear for doing a lot of harm, evil if you will. He approached government officials with his concerns about the possible abuse of such a system. Their response was quintessential Chavismo.He was detained,beaten,threatened, and eventually fled the country.
To be continued….
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