More Terrorists

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole after a few items from the news feed. We’ve already established that Chavismo is never at fault when things aren’t going well in the land of “21st Century Bolivarian Socialism” which is pretty much all the time. The week long outage of service at Bank of Venezuela was blamed on a cyber “terrorist attack” as were recent power outages, loss of water service,etc….you know the drill.We have also seen repeated problems at refineries while the Chavistas scramble to increase production to meet their stated goal of tripling production by the end of the year. Any credible oil analyst will tell you they won’t even get anywhere close. Now we have BNN Bloomberg reporting that DGCIM (more acronym apprehend-you police) have detained 7 PDVSA workers, mostly mechanics, in a terrorism probe. Is there anybody that thinks this won’t be used to explain their failure to increase oil production? “We’re under attack by right-wing terrorists!” or “More terrorists sponsored by the US and Colombia are trying to bring down ‘ The Revolution’!” Refinery sources tell us what we already knew, that the reason all repairs done continue to fail is a lack of proper equipment, maintenance, and spare parts, not more terrorists…or a terrorist…or any terrorist…unless we’re counting the Chavistas as terrorists.

 But on a positive note from  Cuenca High Life , Ecuador’s president tells us that economic growth and job creation can solve Latin America’s mass migration problem. Uhh…that would be the mass migration out of Venezuela (he didn’t name any country or countries) right? So that would mean Venezuela would need to stimulate it’s economy and create lobs right? Well, since the Venezuelan economy has been contracting since Maduro took office in 2013, I’d say the outlook isn’t all that rosy.

 In the “you need to tell it like it is” category McClatchy  tells us in an Op Ed that Biden’s brief mention of Venezuela’s authoritarian government at the UN wasn’t enough. He needs a stronger message like Colombia’s president, ” Venezuela is a narco-dictatorship!”

 Chavismo informs us that anyone who has had a first dose of Sputnik V vaccine can go to the vaccination centers to receive their second dose. Uhh… would those be all the centers that said they had no vaccines?

 And we have a couple of money items. The regime paid over $750 million to Conoco Phillips as part of an award (one of many pending). But on the positive side Reuters reports that the US will give $336 million in aid to Venezuela.

 And how about the latest crime trend? Insight Crime reports the latest trend in Venezuela is kidnappers posing as car sellers. 70% of kidnappings are through false car sales.

 What do you say we head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 ….Conatel, the National Telecommunications Commission, had been previously semi-autonomous but was now basically an extension of the executive branch.The heavy hand of government came down on all forms of media and practicing journalism without a degree and proper credentials became a jailable offense punishable by up to 3-6 months in prison.

 In 2014  the Press and Society Institute reported 1/3 of journalists declined to report information vital to public interest for fear of personal security.Over the Maduro years, as attacks and harassment ratcheted up, many journalists simply left the country.

 Media that resisted government control were forced to sell to undisclosed buyers. Two examples are Globovision, the last television network that was even remotely neutral politically, and El Universal,the nations oldest newspaper.Editors and reporters resigned or were fired and coverage became more favorable to the government.

 Then came the massive protests of 2017 which we’ve previously discussed regarding the government’s repression and all the people killed, injured, and jailed, but we didn’t really get into the media aspect.In 2017 the regime closed 40 radio stations. From 2013 – 2017 3/4 of  all newspapers were closed.In the first four months of 2017  there were over 200 attacks on journalists.

 As 2017 wore on we saw the unconstitutional creation of Maduro’s parallel National Assembly, the ANC. Although created to rewrite the constitution (the ANC was dissolved in 2021 without ever doing anything in that regard) their first move was to create an anti-hate law called The Anti-Hate Law For Tolerance And Peaceful Coexistence. As I’ve said before, nobody calls for peace more than those who foster violence. Nobody calls for tolerance more than the intolerant. Nobody is less democratic than those constantly calling for the protection of democracy. Again, I buy this stuff as much as I believe in the names of countries using “the peoples” …. or the “democratic republic of “….

 The new anti hate law carried (carries) a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for anyone that instigates hate or violence using Radio,TV,Print,or Social Media if the government views it as promoting hate or intolerance. The anti-hate law can be used against anyone, big or small. Take for example the Caracas subway worker fired for a Facebook post in which he complained that his salary was so small he couldn’t afford detergent to wash his uniform. The Caracas Metro is owned by the government and the takeaway is : no criticism of the government, no matter how minor it may seem, is permitted…by anyone.

 The information and speech strangle hold continued to tighten. Over the period from 2013-2018 fifty print media organizations closed their paper-based dailies with only a few opting for weekly publication. In December,2018 the last opposition friendly newspaper went out of print. This left digital media as the only method of dissent,and in reality, to tell people the truth.Real-time reporting on important issues became almost non-existent leaving only the government version of events and even that wasn’t reported in a timely manner.

 Fact checking became a huge problem without any independent media.When the government,in an attempt to prove that not all the economic news was bad,reported that coffee production was 126,270 tons it was way after the fact that the real number of 39,000 tons came out.On a personal note, I like to keep track of oil production since it’s 96% of government revenue.It took me a while but I finally found a way to get verifiable numbers, not believing the government production numbers. There’s a satellite tracking service that monitors tanker shipments and you can’t falsify actual tankers leaving ports so that gives you real export numbers.To nobody’s surprise their numbers are always substantially lower than what the government puts out there.If I have that much trouble getting real oil export numbers I can’t imagine what journalists go through trying to get the truth out there. In 2018 reported on businessman Alex Saab and his ties to Nicolas Maduro and his family regarding the CLAP food program as well as the government housing program. The government banned further publication by them regarding Alex Saab and began harassment tactics causing four of their journalists to leave the country.It was later reported that their information was accurate and the corruption of the CLAP program became a huge scandal…over a year it was initially reported.

 To be continued….

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