It's A Process

 As usual, let’s hit a few recent events before we head Down The Rabbit Hole. First up we have Scoop reporting on UNHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights) ,Michele Bachelet, giving her opening statement for this round of meetings. She pretty much hit on everything, including the usual dig on sanctions being lifted around the world. Now who could she be talking about?  She mentioned all the usual suspects for review but conspicuously absent was a mention of Venezuela. In a later blurb she stated that her office had renewed it’s agreement with the Maduro regime to remain in Venezuela saying that she was still concerned with the criminalization of Human Rights defenders. The Fact Finding Mission has documented many abuses and the investigation continues. We’ll see what she has to say as the meetings unfold. The next thing coming down the pike for those Chavista abusers of Human Rights is the UN’s UPR (Universal Periodic Review) which happens every four and a half years….it’s a process.

 Speaking of the UN, the Daily Mail had a piece on the big UN General Assembly meetings next week. At least for now Nicolas Maduro is on the speakers list.

 And as long as we’re on the topic of meetings and criminals how about this from ABC News. Maduro and the head of his Mexico negotiating team,Jorge Rodriguez, both announced a new addition to the team, Alex Saab, you know,the guy currently detained in Cape Verde and to be extradited to the US in the next week or so to face money laundering and other charges. This must be the last ditch effort to block the extradition since now he is obviously indispensable to the talks between the opposition and the Maduro regime. He was,after all, declared a diplomat just before he got nabbed in Cape Verde. You gotta’ love Maduro’s choices for negotiators. When the government was in the process of defaulting on all it’s bonds he named Tareck El Aissimi to head the team to renegotiate the debt. The only problem is that he is wanted in the US for drug trafficking charges and is under sanction so the US entities involved in the bond default are prohibited from talking to him. You can’t make this stuff up.

 Reuters tells us that the Venezuelan Government is leasing administration of government owned businesses to private companies. It may look like an attempt to be more business friendly but it’s really just that the Chavistas are so inept they can’t manage all the businesses they’ve expropriated. These strategic alliances may solve the management problem by getting the Chavistas out of the day to day operation of these businesses but overall outside influences beyond the administrator’s control will prevent overall solutions.

 If you thought moves like this combined with all the talk of Venezuela welcoming international investment and Chavismo’s new kinder, gentler stance had an effect on the economic situation in Venezuela  check this piece by the Prague Daily Monitor. The Index of Economic Freedom once again rates Venezuela last in economic freedom and has for several years now.

 Then we have CPJ reporting that a Venezuelan journalist has been released after four years of government detention and,as usual, there is no mention that all charges against him have been dismissed leaving the door open to rearrest. He was charged with money laundering to fund a terrorist attack but his real crime was reporting on a crowd jeering at Maduro on a visit to Margarita Island.

 What do you say we go Down The Rabbit Hole?

 ….In April,2018 the Maduro regime crossed another line as far as acceptable behavior goes. That’s when they officially endorsed kidnapping in order to extort compliance with their wishes. We discussed earlier the websites that provide Venezuelans with information on black market exchange rates to buy and sell bolivares and dollars.While the standard excuses for the Venezuelan economic disaster are always various forms of economic warfare by the right-wing imperialists in April,2018 they set their sights on these websites as a form of economic terrorism. The Venezuelan Attorney General went on TV and blamed these site owners for Venezuela’s economic problems and demanded they be jailed. The problem for him was they weren’t in Venezuela.That’s when the Chavistas embraced a new strategy.

 Carlos Marron, owner of had resided in the US for years and his website has been around for years as well, one of twelve popular sites for black market rates. DGCIM grabbed his father when he went out for his morning walk in Venezuela. When he didn’t come home his wife tried to find out what happened to him and she was apprehended by CICPC (the scientific police) and held for eight hours.Up in the US, Carlos Marron got a phone call telling him if he wanted his father out of jail he would have to pay and payment must be made in person. DGCIM were waiting for him at the airport in Caracas, he was arrested for financial terrorism, spreading false information (according to the Law of Currency Exchange), money laundering, and conspiracy.

 Levrentiy Beria was the head of the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB in the USSR. Stalin once called him “my Himmler” in reference to the head of Hitler’s SS. It’s a subject of debate whether Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich (head of the Gestapo) or Beria killed more millions of people. Beria is reputed to have said “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” That seems to be the Chavista mindset.

 I’ve saved the best for last. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued in 2019 a long awaited report on the Human Rights situation in Venezuela. The head of Human Rights for the UN, Michele Bachelet, visited Caracas for a couple of days. She met with various members of the government including Maduro as well as members of the opposition, NGOs, and alleged victims or families of victims of Human Rights abuses. Maduro’s detractors were concerned that the visit was too scripted. Maduro supporters (including Maduro himself) were satisfied with the visit and publicly stated they looked forward to cooperating with the UN-OHCHR on this important issue. The report was highly anticipated for a couple of other reasons.

 To be continued….

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