"People Are Dying"

 Before we get to all the various stories about various things let’s take a look at a big picture item. We’ve mentioned before that there are about 20 protests a day in Venezuela on average and it’s been that way for quite a while. They may not be the massive protests of a few years ago but they’re protests nonetheless. When Chavez took power a couple of decades ago the poverty rate was in the neighborhood of 50%.He ushered in the era of “21st Century Bolivarian Socialism” and now,two decades later, people long for the good old days of 50% poverty. The current rate is about 95%. It borders on unbelievable.The extreme inequality is undeniable. There are a few “haves” and a whole lot of “have-nots”. While it may be socialist policies that have led to this the point isn’t about political ideology.

 There are also a lot of protests in other Latin American countries and they’re not about political ideology either. It’s the huge disparity, the inequality.Corruption is rampant but people aren’t protesting corruption. Harvard Gazette published a piece on all the protests going on and they pretty much summed it up. “Something very important for people outside to know is that these protests aren’t really political. People literally have no access to food,water, and medical resources. People are dying because of these things.”

 Here in the US we have a lot of protests about a lot of things but they’re generally social concerns, transgender bathrooms and the like. Our protests are not because they’re starving,not because they have no water for drinking,bathing,etc. They’re not because people are dying because there is a shortage of 85% of medicines, as is the case in Venezuela and has pretty much been the case since 2014. When we hear about all the protests going on down there it’s important to remember why they’re protesting. “People are dying.”

 Now on to some stuff from the news feed. First up we have the WFP (World Food Program) telling us they’re expanding their food distribution program in Venezuela. Thankfully,it seems Maduro is following through on his decision to allow NGOs to help the Venezuelan people unlike before when he refused them access to Venezuela, denying there was a problem and citing the dignity if the Venezuelan people. There is nothing dignified about starving to death and I hope he continues to allow these NGOs to help the people.

 You might have guessed this one but did you know Venezuela is the number one asylum petitioner country in the world?

 We also have the World Justice Project rating Venezuela last in the world in their “Rule Of Law” index.

 Caracas Chronicles reports that Venezuela is among the top countries in the world in cryptocurrency adoption. Due to hyperinflation and the collapse of the local currency people have turned to using alternatives to purchase much needed items utilizing systems like Zelle and Paypal. Their use is common but you need a US bank account. In some good news for the people of Venezuela there are now three prominent crypto exchanges operating in Venezuela and in one of them you can actually use bolivars. The cryptocurrency article covered various cryptos but there was no mention of Maduro’s “El Petro.”

 In other economic news the Council On Foreign Relations reports that only Lebanon and Venezuela are currently in default on their debt. We also have Law 360 reporting that a New York judge has ruled time is up for Venezuela to pay $40 million to a Portuguese pipeline company.

 Amnesty International put out a statement in support of the ICC decision to open an official investigation and move past the limbo of pre-investigations. Even Maduro apologist Fatou Bensouda,the previous ICC Chief Prosecutor, saw the need to move forward although she did sit on the report until she stepped down.

 And speaking of rights violations, not to mention crimes against humanity, IPYS (Press and Society Institute) reports that so far in 2021 there have been 110 violations and attacks on press workers,11 arbitrary detentions, and 3 forced disappearances. And while we’re at it, Espacio Publico reports it has now been over two years and journalist Luis Carlos Diaz is still in jail even though there is no evidence against him.

 Mexico News Daily had a good piece about Joel Rodon, a migrant journalist.(I didn’t even know there was such a thing) It detailed his 10,000 km journey since leaving Venezuela under pressure from the Maduro regime for his radio show which was highly critical of Chavismo. The traveled to Peru and was threatened there being reminded that his family was still in Venezuela. They subsequently left Venezuela and Joel moved on to Chile, then back through Peru and on through Ecuador, Colombia,Panama,and other Central American countries. He continued his reporting on the Venezuelan migrant crisis and is currently in Mexico hoping to make his way to the US. We hope he continues his good work and wish him luck on being allowed entry into the US.

 And in the alternate universe that is Chavismo’s view of the world, we have Telesur (government media) telling us that Cuba is facing the CIA’s most complex cultural warfare operation. These are the same guys constantly reminding us that Venezuela’s problems are all due to the “economic warfare” being waged against “The Revolution” by the US.

And in a bit of good news, Venezuela oil exports for September were over 700,000 bpd (barrels per day), up from the yearly average of under 600,000.

 And before we go we have this…MCCI reports that the illegal network that replaced the Alex Saab/Nicolas Maduro network in Mexico is still operating using the same importers as the old Saab/Maduro network.

 On that note…more tomorrow…

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