Closing The Barn Door

 I wasn’t planning to get to election related issues until later but I couldn’t pass this up. BNN Bloomberg reports that the EU-EOM (European Union Electoral Observation Mission) is being kicked out of Venezuela 10 days before they are scheduled to leave. The pro forma extension required for their stay was not extended so they have to leave. Their final report isn’t due to be issued for another month or so but the preliminary indications are just as we expected, that the elections were neither free nor fair. As they are wont to do, the Maduro regime, not liking what they’re hearing, is throwing a typical temper tantrum. But, is this closing the barn door after the horse has already bolted? The “new and improved” supposedly transparent Maduro regime has reverted to it’s old ways. When confronted with facts they don’t particularly like (like back when the video was circulating with Venezuelans scrounging for food in the back of a garbage truck) they try to throw a blanket over it by deporting the source (like the Univision crew that had the video). There is way too much already out there for this to simply go away no matter how much they contend “nothing to see here.” Perhaps, in light of the blatant election stealing by the TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court) in the win by the opposition in the governor’s race in Barinas, they are going to be pulling more shenanigans they don’t want observed up close and personal. Oh, and what will we hear from the observers from The Carter Center? For now, let’s move on…

 Here at TFT we’ve talked at length about all the cases winding through the courts around the world relating to money the Chavistas owe for their massive amount of expropriations. We’ve also talked about the process of their bond defaults which began in 2017. We, and others, like to refer to the bond holders in a situation like this as the “bond vultures.” They patiently circle waiting to see what’s going to happen and then when one or two of them move in the others rush in to get something before the bones are picked clean.

 The reason for their patience is they hope some kind of deal can be reached that might have a better outcome for them than what they might be awarded by the court, not to mention the issues involved with actually getting their hands on the assets. In this case the outlook was never very good a deal could be reached since the guy Maduro put in charge of negotiating with them was prohibited from negotiating with them due to him being sanctioned by the US Government. Still, they waited patiently but, now that one or two have descended the rest of the “vultures” are starting to move in. Enter the Koch brothers.

 Two Koch Industries affiliates have joined the growing list of companies going after CITGO through the Delaware courts in light of a recent favorable ruling. They have $400 million previously awarded but have now registered the award in Delaware so they can try to attach CITGO assets, among the few still remaining with PDVSA and the Venezuela Government. The mad scramble will now ensue between the corporate entities, seeking billions owed, and the “bond vultures”, seeking billions owed. It’s going to get interesting…

 To give you an idea of how complex the situation is, the OCCRP reports they are tracing $2 billion plundered from PDVSA (state owned oil company).The money, found in increments of $32 million and $21 million (so far) follow a confusing path through Andorran banks, a former Deputy Electric Minister, his girlfriend, a mysterious middle man,Jose Luis Zabala, and winds through shell companies in Luxembourg and Panama. Just like the bond and expropriated money, this will take time to play out. Stay tuned…

 Moving to the Maduro regime’s attitude of impunity, we have an imprisoned oil worker ordered release by a court 15 days ago. The Director of Tocuyito prison and the Prison Ministry refuse to execute the court order.

 And speaking of oil, Splash247 reports that one in six VLCCs (very large crude carriers) 141/853 have been used in the last year to transport oil-related products between Venezuela and Iran. The data comes from the usually reliable Tanker Trackers. So, despite turning off transponders and sneaking in and out of some ports, the Iran/Venezuela sanction busting operations are in full swing.

 And just to make sure we don’t forget about disgraced Colombian businessman Alex Saab (the Maduro regime insists he’s a diplomat) at the center of Maduro’s fraudulent financial dealings, the President of Ecuador’s National Assembly tells us Saab is tied to drug trafficking. Big surprise huh. And The National reports that Maduro has assured that the Mexico talks will not resume until the Alex Saab “kidnap” is answered for.” They have to respond for this kidnapping….economic war …” Another big surprise.Saab’s trial date in Miami is set for January 3rd,2022.

 And in another “don’t forget” side note, the ICC’s (International criminal Court) Karim Khan met with Michele Bachelet, head of the UN High Commission on Human Rights.

 And on the medical front Venezuela received another 2 and 1/2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines through COVAX and 1.6 million doses of the Cuban vaccine Abdala.

 We also have OHCA telling us that despite the Maduro regime’s claim of much higher numbers the current vaccination rate shows just over 32% of Venezuelans are fully vaccinated.

 And before we go, Trace reports that the annual Bribery Risk Matrix has Venezuela among the five worst out of 194 countries.

 More tomorrow….


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