Conspicuously Absent

 Before we get started with the news I want to tell you about something I find curious. Conspicuously absent from the news feed this holiday season is any story about ‘pernil’ the roast pork that is part of the traditional holiday feast in Venezuela.Now, these folks take their holiday food favorites seriously.One year there was a riot in Caracas due to a shortage of black olives, a key ingredient in ‘hallaca’, the giant Venezuelan tamale, served at Christmas.

 The last few years the Maduro regime has tried to make a little PR show of guaranteeing that there would be pernil for all Venezuelans in an effort to boost Maduro’s perpetually lagging popularity. It’s the same principle as offering citizens things like “the Baby Jesus” bonus.All users of the corrupt “Carnet de la Patria” (Homeland Card) system are given a bonus, paid in bolivares. It always looks like a lot but after the exchange rate it usually comes out to just a couple of bucks.

 Anyway, this year I’ve seen nothing about Maduro guaranteeing pernil for the people and it’s certainly not because he’s had a boost in his approval rating. He’s currently running at about 15% approval. So why no pernil PR splash? Perhaps it’s because last year, and in other years past, Maduro guaranteed pernil for the people and made a big thing about the deal he worked out with a company in Portugal. When the pernil didn’t arrive, due to the lack of payment by the Maduro regime, (the Chavistas are on C.O.D. with everybody) he attempted to pressure the government in Portugal to force the pork producer to ship the pernil. He was dismayed when the Portugese told him that,unlike in Venezuela, the company in question was a private entity and was perfectly within it’s rights to withhold delivery until payment was received. They’ve screwed other countries on payment in a similar fashion in the past so maybe they’ve run out of “marks” for their non-payment scams… I’ll let you know if any ‘pernil’ news surfaces.

 Now, on to the news of the day. I know it may seem like the news we present every day is decidedly negative and there is a reason for this. We are not trying to be deceptive and pick and choose what stories to put out there. Since my wife and daughter are Venezolana and we still have friends and family there I would like nothing better than to have some positive news to share with you. The reality is there just isn’t much good happening in the world of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. That said, here are a couple of items that fall in the good news category.

 A Venezuela court has sentenced two FAES ( part of Maduro’s three-headed monster of ‘not so secret’ police) officers to prison for killing two citizens. This is a somewhat positive sign as it almost never happens. Government security officers pretty much act with impunity hence the ICC (International Criminal Court) investigation into Human Rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro regime.

 In more ‘good news’ we have BCV (Venezuela Central Bank) telling us that the inflation rate in Venezuela is now at 631%. It may seem high to us in the real world, where a rate of 8% gets everybody worried, but in Venezuela it’s a huge improvement, down from over a million % just a couple of years ago.

 And in the “kinda’ good news” category we have UCAB Perspectives telling us that hyperinflation in Venezuela may be over in early 2022. They project a possible monthly inflation rate of under 10% and…wait for it…a possible 7% economic expansion! If it comes to pass it would be the first year since Maduro took power in 2013 that they have not experienced economic contraction. We can only hope it comes to pass. They also reported that the government currently has a $2.3 billion deficit this year and is surviving primarily on revenue from the black market economy and the $8 billion in income from drug trafficking, illegal gold sales, etc. now that there is very little oil revenue. See why it’s only “kinda good news”?

 We also have the president of Fedecamaras (the business chamber) echoing the UCAB number of a possible 7% economic expansion in 2022. Again, lets hope for the best.

 Now, back to reality. We have active and retired CANTV (government communications) workers protesting (again) for better wages, medical services, and benefits. We also have doctors and nurses from  Materno Infantil de El Valle Hospital protesting for basically the same reasons.

 And remember all that happy talk about Venezuela transitioning to a more diverse production model? Well, there were only six vehicles assembled in Venezuela in 2021 by a once thriving auto industry.

 Then we have the Secretary General of the National Journalists Guild reporting that there have been 251 attacks on journalists thus far in 2021.

 We also have ODEVIDA telling us that 32 environmentalists have been murdered since Maduro took power in 2013. Who knew being an environmentalist was such a dangerous occupation? 11 of these were killed by FAES. Remember, the UN-OHCHR has called for the disbanding of these killers to which Maduro responded ” Long Live FAES!”

 And,as all too often,we have an update on the seemingly never ending migrant crisis,currently standing at over 6 million who have fled the humanitarian crisis that is life under the yoke of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.MSF reports that the Brazilian border town of Pacaraima (populatio around 20,000) has hundreds of Venezuelans arriving daily. They are overwhelmed.They can’t supply healthcare and other services as they are only able to process 65 people per day out of the hundreds pouring in. Thousands more are in similar dire straits in other Brazilian border towns elsewhere in the State of Roraima. They quoted one migrant as saying “It’s bad but when I got here I was sleeping on the floor,on a cardboard box, but even so, it’s better than Venezuela.”

 And in another ominous sign we have Lend Academy reporting that Valiu,a key company facilitating remittances for Venezuelans and reducing devaluation using a Bitcoin-backed exchange is ending operations.

 And let’s not forget the environment.NGO Sembramos Todos reports that Henri Pittier National Park, Venezuela’s oldest, has seen 35% lost to fire,invasions, and deforestation…Is this the Maduro regime’s commitment to the environment we’ve heard so much about recently?

 On that note, we’ll call it a day…and a week here at TFT. We’ll be back Monday.

 Have a great weekend everybody!!

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