Clarification ?

 So, we finished up with Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole last week after five months of wading through how Chavismo systematically destroyed every aspect of life in Venezuela.It was a good counterpoint to the daily blog posts of recent news about what’s happening in Venezuela today. There was so much to absorb I will reprise it after the holidays. I know that after I wrote it I would go back over it again and again and each time find something I had forgotten about the horrors of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism so it might be useful to go over it again. I have something I’m working onto fill the void until then but for now we have plenty to keep us busy…. like this:

 Telesur (government media) reports that the CNE (electoral council) has announced a whole lot of clarifications regarding the November elections that have formally kicked off campaigning. As you might expect from government media, the propaganda is in full swing. “3,082 candidates for PSUV (the Chavistas) and over 66,000 candidates for the opposition.” If you hadn’t been following Tales From Teodoro you might think that sounds like more than open competition. We, the well informed know it’s nothing more than a smoke screen hiding all the “shadow opposition” candidates, those amenable to the Chavistas. No mention is made of all the opposition candidates barred from participating even though the CNE allowed participation by their parties (which had previously been banned). How magnanimous of them.

 They went on to tell us that logistics were set for “the world’s most transparent elections.” No propaganda or hyperbole here. The CNE president announced that there would be 2,000 electoral prosecutors to ensure no irregularities.  I’m sure that will be a comfort to all those currently in jail by a justice system presided over by a convicted murderer. The Communications Secretary assures us that the National Public Media system is available to all. Uhh..OK. Is that just like broadcast licenses are available to all? (almost all private radio and TV has been shut down) Or is it more like newsprint (government controlled) will be available to all? (almost all private publication has been shut down) The Secretary went on to assure all of us that digital media will be regulated by the Electoral Process Law. That is one of the laws that Maduro’s AN (national assembly), which was elected in the last totally fraudulent elections,which took over for Maduro’s Constituent Assembly,which was unconstitutionally installed to usurp the last legally elected 2015 AN, has been busy passing to demonstrate their commitment to free and fair elections.Said law will “prevent fake news and stop destabilizing actions.” Fake and destabilizing is, as we know, in the eye of the beholder. It’s just like Maduro’s Constituent Assembly passing their Anti-Hate law. Hate Speech is, once again, in the eye of the beholder and this little jewel carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for criticizing a high government official.

 The CNE made sure to remind us that the elections would be monitored by Carter Center, EU, and UN observers but was also quick to remind us that the EU mission can’t complain about irregularities during the process. “International observers aren’t referees.” That is strictly the purview of the CNE (you know, the same CNE that now has two “opposition” members but is still controlled by the Chavistas) So there you have it. They have their clarification and we have ours.

 And in the making it look good to the international community category we have Maduro’s AN passing a law  on Transparency and Access to Public Information. They also drafted a law for Attention and Reparation to victims of Human Rights abuses. So let’s see if I’ve got this right. A government that hasn’t published significant figures on anything since 2016 will now be transparent and a government that has been accused of a vast number of Human Right abuses and Crimes Against Humanity by the UN and is under investigation (although not announced officially) by the ICC (International Criminal Court) is concerned with exposing Human Rights abuses. This couldn’t have anything to do with Karim Khan, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC coming to Venezuela could it? It’s going to be a little tougher for Maduro to hide his regime’s abuses now that Khan has taken over for Fatou Bensouda who covered for Maduro for years. We do have,however, the Venezuela Prosecutor General  telling us that the ICC visit will “evaluate the great work” we’ve been doing.

 And then we have the UCV, University Central de Venezuela, which has always been autonomous, now has a “protector” of the institution. You know, just like every state that has an opposition governor now has a Chavista “protector” of the people.  Needless to say, UCV isn’t thrilled with the idea of their new “protector”.

 And what would a news day be without something on Alex Saab, due to be arraigned November 1st.  PRR reports ” Saab isn’t simply some corrupt businessman…. something more akin to the manager of the Maduro family business.” Now there are charges against relevant Chavista  collaborators and international pressure is mounting. We also have something new… Cuban advisors are said to be questioning Maduro’s future.

 On the economic front we have the Venezuela Observatory of Finance reporting that the Venezuela economy is down 2.7% so far this year and has contracted every year since Maduro took office in 2013. (how’s that for a track record?)

 JNS published an extensive piece about Hezbollah operatives being sheltered by the Maduro regime.The Maklad crime family,known for it’s involvement in narco and human trafficking, has been in Venezuela for generations but it’s ties to Hezbollah are something new. Many think this is related to the prominence of Tareck el Aissami who has been linked to Hezbollah for years. You remember him don’t you? The Venezuela international passports for sale scandal? The guy under US sanction that Maduro put in charge of restructuring Venezuela’s massive debt default even though he was specifically prohibited by the sanctions from communicating with the bond holders? It’s been no secret for some time that there was a Hezbollah training facility on Margarita Island. Anything related to Tareck el Aissami bears watching.

 See…I told you there was plenty of news out there…. more tomorrow.

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