No Juice ...Again

 Blackouts are a way of life in Venezuela, especially these days. We discussed in detail in one of our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segments how 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism has destroyed the electric power system. Through neglect, mismanagement, and sheer ineptitude the electric power delivery service is in dire straits…and it won’t get better anytime soon.Here’s a quick review of the situation:

 When I started going to Venezuela back in the nineties there were frequent power outages but they were localized and short lived. It was almost quaint in a “there it goes again” kinda’ way. The power would go out and then come back in an hour or so and things would return to normal. That was before Chavismo. When Chavez came to power he vowed to fix the power grid.Just like everything else Chavez promised it has been a dismal failure.It is a story of failed renewable energy projects which have produced nothing. Two major hydroelectric dam projects, designed to lighten the over reliance on the Guri Dam complex, which provides 80% of the country’s energy, have never produced a single megawatt.

 Corpolec,the government owned and operated electric company, has seen it’s experienced workforce completely depleted.Experienced leadership was replaced with party loyalists end experienced workers left either for lack of pay and advancement opportunities or because they left the country altogether. It has been a total “brain drain.” In 2019 the house of cards that was the Corpolec (hence Venezuela’s ) electric grid collapsed. The collapse led to a massive country-wide blackout from which the country has never really recovered.Some places were over a week without power, some had to go to perpetual power rationing, and the Chavistas have been putting band-aids on the problem ever since.As with everything else, the Chavistas blamed the blackout on sabotage/terrorism. At first it was called a cyber attack by right wing extremists (backed by US and Colombia) until it was explained to them that the Guri Dam system is so outdated, it’s an analog system, it can’t be hacked.They still maintain the problem was,and is, sabotage/terrorism but they dropped the cyber attack line and now give no details but insist these attacks are from those same evil right wingers intent on bringing down the “glorious revolution” that is 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. It’s either that or they can’t do anything because of sanctions. You know the drill…

 So here we are…No Juice…Again! Telesur (government media) reported Friday that Venezuela’s Public Infrastructure and Services Minister says the Guri electrical complex has been “attacked” (again) which caused widespread blackouts affecting most of the country. No details were furnished but we did have VP Delcy Rodriguez telling us that “Nothing will stop our ‘path of peace’…” Uhh..OK.. that must be the path of Human Rights violations and crimes against humanity the ICC (International Criminal Court) is investigating. Moving on…

 I told you we would bring you good news when we could find it and here you go:

 Holland and Knight reports Venezuela’s monetary base only increased 1.6% in November. It was the smallest increase since 2011. The previous low was a  22.9% increase in 2016 with a high of a 94% increase in 2018. The exchange rate of bolivar/dollar  is only up 14.4%. The low was in 2015 with only 12.5% with a high in 2016 of 165.6%. Maybe things are stabilizing a bit. Potential good news on the inflation front.

 We also have Merco Press reporting that the president of Venezuela Association of Exporters says 2021 exports are up 30% over 2020. The numbers are still abysmal but we’ll take whatever good news we can find.

 Caracas Chronicles (we get a lot of info. from them) tells us that there has been another conviction for state sponsored killing. Two SEBIN (part of the 3 headed monster of Maduro’s ‘not so secret’ police) officers received 5 years and 10 months in prison for the murder of councilman Fernando Alban. You remember him, right? The ‘window guy’ that supposedly was so despondent he threw himself out of a 10th story bathroom window. At least that was the story until someone pointed out that the 10th story bathroom had no windows…oops!  The downside of this,and the conviction last week, is that there has been no chain of command investigation.

 Remember “Twitter Justice”? That was the term used by the protester that said nothing is investigated in Venezuela unless it’s trending on Twitter. Here’s a good one. Venezuela’s Head Prosecutor just appointed a prosecutor to investigate the case of Salud Chacao refusing to treat patients wearing shorts, a story that went viral on Twitter.

 We’ve covered extensively the glacially slow process(and progress) of international organizations like the ICC and the UN-OHCHR (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). Don’t get me wrong, we’re in favor of anything that can put pressure on the Maduro regime,but the point is that these things take time. Case in point, the UN-OHCHR released a report that they found that a prominent Venezuelan jurist had his rights violated and due process guarantees were not respected relating to a coup d’etat in Venezuela in 2002,when Hugo Chavez was briefly ousted.Brewer Carias was charged with “conspiracy to alter the constitution through violent means” in relation to the “Carmona Decree” to establish a transitional government. Carias claims (and claimed) that he had no part in the drafting of this document and disagreed with it. The UN found that 5 judges and 4 prosecutors involved were all temporary appointments meaning they could be fired if they didn’t ‘tow the line’. 3 judges that ruled favorably to Carias were fired. They also note the violation of the right to be presumed innocent due to public statements by Chavez and the Attorney General saying Carias was involved. This is another example of the complete lack of an independent judiciary in Venezuela, then or now.

 More tomorrow…

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