Before we head Down The Rabbit Hole here’s some  recent news. This one really got me.There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Pandora Papers and the investigation into offshore tax havens.You might think “What could this have to do with Venezuela?” Well, it turns out that Venezuela is number 7 in individuals and companies with money in offshore tax havens, 1,212 Venezuelans and 853 companies.This is a country with almost no economy (legitimate) to speak of. Where do all these people and companies get all this money? It couldn’t be that they (the Chavistas) have completely looted the country and have set up a narco-state, could it? Not convinced that something not exactly above board is going on? How about if you combine Pandora Papers with this little nugget? Venezuela is number 8 in the world in private jet ownership. Again, who are all these people and where did all this wealth come from?

 European reports tell us that Leopoldo Lopez must have ESP. Well not exactly but remember us talking about the former (current?) opposition leader being back in the news saying that if the EU sent a delegation to observe the upcoming November elections without solid conditions and guarantees it would signal they had lowered their standards? The European Election Action Service will deploy a mission to Venezuela to monitor the November elections for the first time in 15 years. Reportedly, agreements have been reached. An article in Telesur tells us that the CNE (electoral council) and the EU-EOM (the monitors) have agreed to cooperate. Do people really believe these guys? Their track record would lead you to believe otherwise. Perhaps everyone just wants to believe?

 I was already skeptical (even though BLM and CRT proponents say skepticism and objectivity are white supremacist values I remain skeptical and try to be objective) and then I see a statement put out by the CNE after all the happy talk about cooperation in the news. The CNE warns observers (unspecified) of the November elections to not interfere in the country’s affairs, especially in the public powers exercising their competences. (Who uses words like competences?) Where is this dire warning coming from and who are they talking to? To quote The Bard again ( a couple of Shakespeare references in a couple of days…ain’t that something?) “Methinks thou doth protest too much.” The Chavistas do this all the time. Well before the fact they lay the ground work for future protestation.

 As long as we’re feeling all warm and fuzzy about the Chavistas how about this? Jerusalem Post reports that on Monday Venezuela’s VP, Delcy Rodriguez, announced the reopening of Venezuela’s border with Colombia. That’s the same border that they closed in 2019 when the opposition tried to bring in humanitarian aid that was warehoused in Colombia from governments and NGOs around the world. I guess we’re supposed to forget about them denying aid to their own people. That’s how Telesur is reporting on the issue. They spin it as a humanitarian gesture by Venezuela in response to the intolerant Duque government in Colombia. Early reports say that while they have cleared the shipping containers blocking the international bridge in Cucuta other crossings remain blocked.

 And in more happy news from Chavismo we have Telesur heralding the return of 200 Venezuelans from Chile. There was no mention of the 465,000 Venezuelan migrants still in Chile that have fled the ravages of Chavismo.

 Sunday Times tells us that the UN report on organized crime lists Venezuela number 18 on it’s list of the 20 worst countries for organized crime. My guess is that organized crime in Venezuela would rank higher if their criminal enterprises didn’t have to compete with the Venezuelan government’s criminal enterprises.

 Did you know that over 1 million students have dropped out in Venezuela between 2019-2012 ? ….How about 248 people missing under suspicious circumstances in 2021?

 On the lighter side Grunge reports that if you want a great natural light show you should visit Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo. The Maracaibo Basin has hundreds of lightning strikes daily!

 On that note…let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 ….How about a little comic relief? One trait that seems common to authoritarian regimes is their penchant for making demands on the international stage. Maybe it’s because they are used to being the big fish in a small pond but, whatever the reason, they seem to do it all the time. Here’s one of countless examples from the Chavistas.

 At one time Venezuela was a leading member of the economic/political bloc called MERCOSUR, referred to as “The South American Common Market.” A couple of years ago the member countries, most of whom had been screwed on deals with the Chavistas, voted to drop Venezuela from their organization. No Venezuelan representative was invited to the meeting as the bloc had made numerous overtures to the Chavistas to change their ways to no avail.

 Venezuela’s VP was Foreign Minister at the time and traveled to the meeting site to demand entrance. She was greeted by a MERCOSUR representative who informed her that without an invitation she would not be admitted.The Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, was incensed and demanded someone meet with her immediately. She was shown to a conference room and was told someone would be in to speak with her. After a few minutes (I probably would have made her wait longer) the same woman that had shown her to the conference room returned. When Delcy demanded to know who she was going to meet with…immediately,the woman informed her “That would be me.”

 As badly as Chavismo had crippled production in Venezuela you might think imports would be up.The stuff has to come from somewhere, right? Well,no. In 2012 when the economy was headed towards trouble but was still in pretty good shape due to the massive borrowing and high oil prices , the import numbers were up. Contrary to all their “smoke and mirrors” statements about increasing productivity, the Chavista economic model was to import whatever they needed and pay for it with oil revenues and money borrowed from the Chinese and Russians.2019 estimates (real numbers are hard to come by) for imports were a decline from 2012 levels of 83%. So, they’re not producing goods domestically and they’re not importing them.Where are they getting what they need? Short answer, it’s a “let them eat cake” kinda’ deal. Chavistas drink champagne and the rest of the population is struggling to find water.

 To be continued….

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