Going Down

 Before going Down The Rabbit Hole let’s check on Chavismo’s progress with their rosy predictions.As they have from the beginning, the Chavistas are constantly telling us about what they are going to do…how great everything is going to be…and it’s always the same. They accomplish nothing of what they say they are going to do and things always get worse. S & P Global Platts reports August crude production was down slightly from July. The 520,000 bpd (barrels per day) was only a slight drop but it is 535,000 bpd behind their recovery target announced in April. Remember how they were going to triple or quadruple production by year’s end? After a brief uptick figures are going down…again.It’s worth remembering that before Chavismo PDVSA produced almost 3 and 1/2 million bpd so numbers going down are nothing new to them. What would be new is if they acknowledged there was a problem (other than those evil sanctions).

 The president of FEDEAGRO confirms the agricultural producers are only producing 20-25% of domestic demand. More numbers going down, or at least not going up. How are those roof top gardens working out replacing all that expropriated farmland?

 As if we needed any more confirmation on something we’ve talked about frequently, CEPAL confirms their projection that Venezuela will have negative growth this year of about 4%…. again…going down. The economy has contracted every year since Maduro took office making it the longest recession in Venezuela’s history. How is that new, diversified, productive economy working out for ya’?

 And as if things weren’t bad enough for the food producers due to fuel shortages, they now have additional trouble getting products to market due to recent, and continuing, heavy rains.

 One area we can usually count on numbers not going down is shortages. The president of the Venezuela Association Of Chemicals And Petrochemicals informs us we can now add oxygen to the list of shortages. This is also due to the combo of lack of fuel and heavy rains.

 And in the midst of all this Crux reports that Venezuela’s Archbishop and his auxiliary were confronted by officials of the Bolivarian National Guard and were prevented from delivering humanitarian aid. Despite assurances to the contrary by the government that Chavismo would allow NGOs to operate in Venezuela it’s the same old story. Only Chavismo can help you.

 Do you remember me telling you about Maduro’s parallel government “Office of the Protector of the People” he created anywhere the Chavistas lost an election? Well, the National Press Workers Guild reports that the Merida office of the “Protector” is harassing journalists reporting on the effects of the heavy rains. The “Protector” will “protect” you from getting any information the Chavistas don’t want you to hear. No bad news here. Everything is wonderful in the socialist paradise of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 The International Crisis Group had a long article previewing what’s next for Venezuela. In the interest of time here’s the take away… Nothing Happens Before The Elections in Nov.

 And speaking of the elections, the CNE (electoral council) tells us there will be no “puntos rojos” in November. These are the Chavista tents outside each polling location that even though they violate the constitution have been in place for years. I’ll believe it when I see it.

 So speaking of “Going Down”, how about we go Down The Rabbit Hole for some more on “The Supremes”?

 ….In 2016 and 2017 the TSJ sentenced five opposition mayors to prison. While the rulings were denounced they were not challenged.

 In 2017 during the height of the protests,repression, calls for dialogue,etc. Maduro called for establishment of a constituent assembly through snap elections. Remember, the protests were sparked when the TSJ assumed (then reversed itself) the legitimate assembly’s powers.While the constitution provides for establishment of such an assembly (Chavez did it) it requires passage of a referendum before election of members can be called for and the constituent assembly (ANC) can be convened. Maduro’s decision to bypass the constitutionally mandated process was upheld by the TSJ.

 In 2017 when the TSJ assumed the assembly’s powers then backed off they still prohibited the assembly from “declaring political responsibility” and prohibited acts that alter public order. Uh, I’m no constitutional scholar but I think that means you can’t say “this mess is all Maduro’s fault” and you can’t protest.

 In 2017 after the widely boycotted constituent assembly (ANC) elections Maduro had them sworn in by the TSJ and not by the National Assembly as required by the constitution. So now we have an unconstitutional election for an unconstitutional ANC, which was unconstitutionally sworn in. Maduro declared the ANC not only constitutional but all powerful and his decision was ratified by the TSJ.

 But fear not! Venezuela still has judicial oversight. No it’s not by the National Assembly or even the unconstitutional (and supposedly all powerful) ANC. It’s the TSJ’s own Judicial Commission! Well, that should allay everyone’s concerns.The TSJ Judicial Commission consists of 6 judges including the President (you know, the convicted murderer with the extortion, drug trafficking, and money laundering allegations). It can dismiss any provisional or temporary judge in the country (80% of the country’s 1,732 judges) without cause or due process.Example 1/ In 2017 three judges released people detained during the protests and were summarily fired. One was even reinstated and then fired again. Example 2/ A judge’s driver was arrested as he was delivering documents to a court official outside the courthouse. He was released but only after spending 35 days in jail without charges. This led to the courthouse being raided which led to five judges being charged with “inexcusable error” and dismissed. While the commission can fire judges without cause or due process it’s not like they have no recourse. They do have the right to appeal and the appeal must be heard within 90 days. Of the five fired judges one retired and the other four appealed. Those appeals were never heard.

 To be continued….

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