More Of The Same

 As usual, we’ll get caught up on the news feed before heading Down The Rabbit Hole. One thing the recent news seems to always have in common with the Down The Rabbit Hole material is that it’s constantly more of the same. There’s a lot to talk about in a lot of different categories and unfortunately for the Venezuelan people it’s all bad. This week, and today, is no different. So, here we go. Things are a little quiet on the Alex Saab front now that we have News 18 telling us that his arraignment has been set for November 1st. However, there was this…WLRN had a piece on a University of Miami professor that pleaded guilty to taking $2 million from Alex Saab in return for assisting him with money laundering. The frozen assets that were being laundered through a bank in Bulgaria totaled about $350 million. This came to light as forensic accountants were tracking over $300 billion missing from Venezuela and most people put the number well north of $600 billion. Now,for sure, in the overall scheme of things this $350 million may seem like small potatoes but this story is emblematic of our “More Of The Same” theme. The corruption in Venezuela is pervasive and touches everyone and everything…even a college professor in Miami, Florida. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t surprised to read that, once again, the Corruption Perception Index has Venezuela rated as one of the three worst countries in the world.

 In what might be considered “good news” we have word that the Carabobo Police officers who murdered Daniel Queliz during the protests of 2017 have been sentenced to 26 years in prison. It’s good to see that there isn’t total impunity for the forces of authority in Venezuela but it is a good example of Venezuelan justice under Chavismo. The process was long and slow since it wasn’t against a member of the political opposition and at no time during the process was anyone up the chain of command from these two low ranking officers touched or even mentioned. It’s SOP Chavista scapegoating.

 It’s reported that one of the three Fundaredes Human Rights activists currently being held by Chavismo on very…very suspect charges has contracted Covid-19.  We can only hope that he receives better treatment than most Venezuelans, in or out of prison.

 And speaking of the coronavirus, virologist Flor Pujol tells us that over 70% of the population must be vaccinated before receiving their third dose. So I guess this means that in addition to going to vaccination centers for their second dose and being told to come back tomorrow many are using vaccines that require a third dose?  And as long as we’re talking about vaccinations, EFE reports that the Venezuelan government has instituted a yellow fever vaccination program. This is good news in the respect that at least the government is acknowledging that there is a problem, unlike the issues with malaria,measles,etc. that are currently ravaging the Venezuelan population. Remember, when the Health Minister reported on all the disease outbreaks plaguing Venezuela the government’s  response was to fire the Health Minister. We can only hope that the Chavistas will actually do something about this other than their usual practice of making a big announcement then doing nothing.

 Seeing news on yellow fever reminded me of where we began our journey Down The Rabbit Hole months ago.My wife and I went to get her yellow fever card updated so we could travel to Peru. The vaccination clinic was adjacent to the major hospital near us and it was closed. Do you remember Duglimar telling me that it didn’t really matter as “In Venezuela people go to the hospital to die”? I’m also reminded that at the time this left the population without a functioning major hospital on the island, however, the military hospital near us remained open.

 And in financial news we have this. The government has responded to a document delivered to them by pensioners and retirees demanding public policies to allow a dignified life. The government issued a payment to them of a month’s salary/benefit and a Christmas Bonus as well. The amount totaled approximately 14 bolivars which is equal to a little over three bucks! Sounds like a dignified life to me. Oh, and there are 5 million pensioners and retirees in Venezuela out of a population of around 28 million people now that almost 6 million have fled the country.

 On that cheery note, what do you say we head Down The Rabbit Hole? Here’s the rest of your “Bullets”.

 …13/ The government ID card “Carnet de la Patria” (homeland card) is just another means of oppression through the weaponization (extortion) of government benefits. See chapter 10 (week 10 of my blog posts…etc.)

 14/ The Maduro regime constantly displays a blatant disregard for it’s constitution, which was rewritten by it’s icon and Chavismo namesake, Hugo Chavez. See chapter 11

 15/ The Supreme Court of Venezuela (TSJ) is completely non-independent and is solely an extension of the executive branch. See chapter 12 ( did you notice I didn’t even mention it was presided over by a convicted murderer?)

 16/ Many US critics refuse to denounce the regime of Nicolas Maduro and yet refer with horror (and rightfully so) to the US support for the Pinochet regime in Chile a few decades ago.Pinochet’s death squads were responsible for approximately 3,000 extrajudicial killings (some say as many as 9,000) over his 17 year reign.How do they reconcile that with the Maduro regime being responsible for approximately 7,000 extrajudicial killings (again, some say the number is much higher) in just an 18 month period during 2018 and 2019? See chapter 14

 17/ With almost 6 million Venezuelans who have fled 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, with no end in sight, why all the coverage on Syria and so little on Venezuela with comparable numbers? See chapter 13

 18/ Venezuela has no free speech,no free press,and no Human Rights…Period! See chapter 16

 19/ Venezuelans wish they had a 2nd Amendment. See chapter 15

 Well, that does it for another week here at Tales From Teodoro. See you Monday. Have a great weekend everybody!!

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