The Ballot

 Before we head Down The Rabbit Hole let’s check the news feed. We already know that the ongoing negotiations in Mexico (next round is the end of September) is really all about holding free and fair elections. Telesur (government media) reports that the CNE (electoral council) has concluded it’s audit of voting machines in preparation for the November elections. Why am I not comforted? All the issues with the last fraudulent election surfaced after the fact,as is the norm, so what they say now really doesn’t matter. Caracas Chronicles reports the ballot is plagued with fake opposition alternatives. No great surprise as, despite all the Chavista happy talk, the CNE allowed formerly barred opposition parties on the ballot but continues to bar many of their candidates.

 Telesur also reports CEELA (Latin American Council of Electoral Experts) will monitor the November elections. OK, sounds good. I’m hopeful but skeptical. The name sounds good but I’ve been unable to learn anything about who these people are, what is their record in the past, and if they really are legit what will be the extent of the regime’s cooperation? The Chavistas have a long history of talking the talk but never walking the walk.This may be evidenced by US Senator Bob Menendez (D) saying he supports the Mexico talks and Maduro’s National Assembly rejecting his support. What does that mean? If the Chavistas are really all about this new spirit of cooperation and holding free and fair elections why would they not want the support of a prominent US Senator, a Democrat, who seems to be on their side?

 How about a little vaccine news? VP Delcy Rodriguez and other Chavistas made a big deal about her having a meeting with the Health Minister regarding vaccines. So what came out of the meeting? Well, we don’t know. This is par for the course with Chavismo. Lots of hype about the meeting but nothing regarding details of what was discussed or the possible outcome. We shouldn’t be surprised that the Health Minister was mum. Remember that Health Minister that only held her job for a week because she actually reported figures on epidemiology? I know I’m dating myself but I just flashed on Sergeant Shultz.

 Our friends at Caracas Chronicles had a few interesting items. In the latest cabinet reform 10 members were tied to the military which is in keeping with Maduro handing more and more control over the country to the military. They also reported that some prison populations in Venezuela, notorious for overcrowding,are actually shrinking. One example showed the population down from 1,208 to 650. It would be promising if it was due to a drop in crime but the reasons cited were early release and disease.

 And remember all that positive talk about promised oil production increases…. triple/quadruple by the end of the year? Well, the president of CBT (workers union) tells us there are currently only two refineries in operation.

 I think it’s time we get on Down The Rabbit Hole….

 Bachelet,in her former capacity as President of Chile, while not a real backer of Maduro wouldn’t condemn his, or his regime’s, behavior. There is currently a pre-investigation in progress at the ICC (International Criminal Court) into the Maduro regimes Human Rights violations  prompted by a scathing report from the OAS officially presented to the court.So…what would she do? ….What would she say?

 If Maduro thought he would get a free pass he was sorely mistaken. The report stated that in the 18 months prior to the report the regime was responsible for approximately 7,000 extrajudicial killings (some say 9,000).The Chavistas, as usual, responded with mixed messages.”The numbers are inflated and inaccurate” or “They were people resisting arrest or obstructing justice” or the ever popular ” She is a puppet of right-wing imperialists”…and there was a lot more. The report was quite long and detailed but here are a few highlights.

 During the 2019 protests government backed colectivos (armed motorcycle gangs) killed 52 protesters. As of May,2019, 793 people remained arbitrarily arrested. In the four months from November,2018 to February, 2019 there were 1,557 deaths in hospitals due to lack of supplies.The population suffers from chronic food insecurity and access to food is a human right. The government is systematically violating the rights of indigenous peoples through environmental destruction of their ancestral lands and even denying them government representation. In these respects, and many more, the government ombudsperson, who is supposed to speak on behalf of the people, is suspiciously silent…always.

 Summary : The US Government and the CIA in particular have been widely criticized for backing the Pinochet regime in Chile a few decades ago, and rightfully so. He was reviled for his death squads and the fact that the US backed him is a stain on US foreign policy to this day,and again,rightfully so. That said, Pinochet,during his 17 years in power was responsible for anywhere from 1,200 to 3,200 (the Chilean Government says 3,000) extrajudicial killings.If the global community is still outraged at 3,000 killings over 17 years how will they react to the Chavistas killing 7,000 in a year and a half? When the FAES drags a barrio resident out into the street in the middle of the night and shoots him in the head it’s “part of the Operation for Peoples Liberation”. When a ‘colectivo’ shoots a protester it’s part of “Plan Zamora”, the 1017 plan authorizing crowd control by sniper, coordination of colectivos and national militia by the government, and military trials for civilians. Remember that when Bachelet called for FAES to be dismantled Maduro’s reply was “Long Live FAES”.

 Maduro and the Chavistas have nothing but contempt for the rule of law, societal norms, or even common decency.They have proven time and again they will do anything to stay in power. The migration crisis and all the other issues in Venezuela are nothing short of tragic. The three headed monster of the Chavista’s security services (can we just call them death squads?) is nothing short of terrifying.

©Copyright 2021 all right reserved.