We’ll continue with our “Blatant Disregard” Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a minute but first,how about this…You hear a lot about slavery these days but it’s usually in the form of white supremacists in the US wanting to enslave the black population or something like that, none of which is true, but the media and politicians would have you believe modern slavery is rampant in the US. For the record, I’ve lived in about a dozen states in the US,have never met nor known a white supremacist, and for that matter don’t know anyone who has. I have no idea what they’re talking about. At the same time the media and politicians turn a blind eye to China enslaving about a million Muslim Uyghurs, North Korea enslaving basically everyone, and there are other examples.So what’s the deal?

 We have plenty of real examples of modern slavery in the far reaches of the world that aren’t talked about and the one that is most discussed is complete fiction but at least it’s close to home. How about a real slavery story, one that’s right here in the western hemisphere? IOM reports 174,000 Venezuelans are victims of modern slavery. The UCAB Center For Human Rights tells us that slavery in Venezuela and among Venezuelan migrants is the highest in Latin America by far.

 How about a case of de facto slavery? AP reports that the Venezuela National Team’s soccer coach just quit. It seems he hasn’t been paid in over a year. Oh, and don’t forget all those indigenous peoples enslaved in Maduro’s “Mining Arc” we talked about a week or two ago. These things are real…not phantom white supremacist stories.

 And of course we can hardly let a day go by without something related to the Mexico talks between the Chavistas and the opposition, most of it centered around free and fair elections. The CNE (electoral council) informs US that 6% of voter records from May – July are excluded from “official records”. Huh…what does that mean? And why is there still no formal discussion on participation in the November elections? Last I checked it’s almost September. However, a government lawyer did clarify something for us.In the government’s view “Participants should have registered long ago.” Uhh.. is that regardless of whether they are eligible or not? Should they be campaigning even if the CNE hasn’t ruled that it’s allowable? Stay tuned for more CNE follies.

 Caracas Chronicles refreshed our memory the other day with a mention of Molly de la Sotta, sister of Luis de la Sotta. She doesn’t want her brother to be forgotten. He’s a political prisoner that has been held for more than three years by Chavismo without a trial. There are 20 more just like him in three different prison basements. (does that qualify the basements as dungeons?)

 On the legal front we have Law 360 reporting that Koch Industries confirms the award of $400 million against Chavismo. As we’ve said before, there are many cases like this grinding their way through legal processes around the world.

 Then we have the issue that by signing the negotiation document in Mexico the Maduro regime accepted to discuss it’s own governability.A former Chavista judge informs us that this is “political, not judicial.” OK….

 On the healthcare front we have Monitor Salud delivering over  400 PPE kits to medical personnel. A union official says “It’s the responsibility of the state but it’s presence is non-existent in our hospitals.” How is it that the state has no presence in a state run healthcare system?

 And in the rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic category we have Maduro doing his frequent cabinet shuffling. He has named a group of new ministers but all of them are from other positions within Chavismo. “Take off that hat and wear this one…for now.” I sure was glad Reuters kept us abreast of that story.

 As far as the higher education community goes, University Observatory tells us that 89% of professors and 95% of students in Venezuela are still unvaccinated, 70% of professors have second jobs as they attempt to continue teaching, and 30% of professors say their total family income is less than 10 dollars a month. VIVA LA REVOLUCION!

 Now let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole for some more “Blatant Disregard”….

 ….Then the Chavistas killed it! They petitioned the TSJ (supreme court) to set aside the results of four elections, three of which were won by opposition MP’s (Members of Parliament). The TSJ, which we’ll cover in detail in the next chapter,is Chavismo’s “rubber stamp.”They did their job and suspended the four MP’s victories until the allegations against them could be properly investigated. They entered the limbo-land of any anti-Chavismo entity. For a variety of ever-changing reasons/rationalizations/ explanations/ whatever.. nothing further was ever decided so their election was never approved by the TSJ nor was it denied. They were prohibited from taking office but were not replaced in fresh elections…ever!

 Without the missing MPs the opposition had an imposing majority but fell short by a seat or two of the 2/3 requirement for super majority powers. They couldn’t unilaterally oust TSJ judges nor Maduro through a recall election.When the new assembly took office the next month things would get contentious.

 The action began just before the new assembly was slated to be sworn in.The outgoing MPs ,in a last minute, preemptive strike replaced 13 judges on the TSJ that they (Maduro) considered not sufficiently pro-Chavista even though they always ruled pro-Chavista. The good old days of Chavismo being in total control of all three branches of government were coming to an end, at least temporarily. Maduro also issued some last minute decrees utilizing his emergency powers granted him by the outgoing National Assembly,perhaps fearing resistance from the new assembly.

 The games really kicked into high gear when the new assembly took office. They refused to acknowledge the TSJ ruling overturning election results and swore in the four disputed MPs anyway. The minority party, PSUV (the Chavistas), protested and a protracted back and forth began. The TSJ ruled that any laws passed by an assembly containing disputed membership would be annulled and so on and so on. This continued for the next year or so and meanwhile conditions continued to worsen for the Venezuelan people. Then the TSJ went too far,which for Venezuela is really saying something.

 To be continued…..

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