Not Even Close

 As usual, we’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole shortly but first this one caught my eye. Primarily because it’s another example that people just can’t seem to get their head around the extent to which the Venezuelan people are impoverished.

 PED – Apple 3.0 had this, “Venezuelans must work 7,063 hours to afford an iphone 13.” It sounds extreme and I give them credit for trying but they’re not even close. First, let’s agree on a couple of numbers. If you purchase an iphone 13 without a service contract the price is around $800 (or more), but let’s say $800.We’ll use 160 hours worked per month (40 hours a week more or less). Now comes the part most people don’t seem to grasp. The minimum wage in Venezuela is less than $2 A MONTH!! It’s not $2 an hour or $2 a day…it’s $2 A MONTH!!! For a little context, (we’ve referenced this before) the UN defines extreme poverty as earning a dollar a day or less. A minimum wage earner in Venezuela, and there are millions of ’em, has to work 15 days (or a little over two weeks) to earn that dollar! Let’s repeat it for emphasis because I see it reported incorrectly again and again. The minimum wage in Venezuela is $2 A F—ING Month!!! (FYI, pre Chavismo they were earning $200)

 So if we do the math, that $2 a month (it’s actually less but let’s say $2) divided by 160 work hours comes out to about A CENT PER HOUR!! So…if we use the sale price of $800 you would need 80,000 cents to buy that iphone which means you would have to work 80,000 hours. That’s about 38 years so, as you can see, that number of working 7,063 hours to buy an iphone isn’t even one tenth of the actual number of hours a Venezuelan would have to work. NOT EVEN CLOSE!! Venezuela is basically a nation of enslaved people that are starving and dying every day under 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism!

 Here’s one that should be viewed as a positive but is in reality very sad. CGTN reports there are Rainwater Harvesting projects going on in poor neighborhoods in Venezuela. They are primarily in schools and are billed as “Eco-friendly” projects. The sad reality is that they have little to no access to fresh water (let alone drinking water) and have to fend for themselves. They set up rainwater collection sites on the rooftops of schools then construct a piping system to distribute it. It’s a good thing now that students don’t have to carry water to school. It’s a good thing that classes aren’t cancelled due to lack of water. One school can collect 300,000 liters of water on their roof annually. One student was quoted, “Now I can go to the bathroom!” How sad is that? The government’s failure to provide water to it’s citizens translates to 1 in 10 Venezuelans get their drinking water from rain and 45% store water in tanks on the roof. Remember our Down The Rabbit Hole segment “Just The Basics”? Ain’t nothing more basic than water!!!

 And we have Prensa Latina reporting that companies are now investing in shrimp farming in the Lake Maracaibo area. There is already a lack of fishing due to oil spills and pollution so I guess time will tell how this works out. We wish them luck.

 Then we have The Eurasia Review telling us that COHA (Council On Hemispheric Affairs) is calling for the release of Alex Saab, Maduro’s architect and front man for many of his fraudulent and illicit enterprises. They bill themselves as non-partisan and say they’re against Human Rights abuses and yet they fail to mention the Human Rights abuses committed by the Maduro regime and it’s enablers like Alex Saab.

 We also have NECN reporting that military technology is aiding tankers avoiding GPS locators. In December,2012 the Panama flagged tanker, Tulip, broadcast it’s location as off the coast of Africa. It was actually headed to Venezuela as seen on satellite. According to Windward, a maritime intelligence company, last year there were over 200 vessels involved in over 350 incidents of this type of avoidance.

 And on the migration front we have this from Center For Immigration Studies. Venezuelan migrants in the US from Chile earn four times what they earned in Chile but Venezuelan migrants in Chile make a hundred times (or more) than what they earned in Venezuela. See what I mean about the minimum wage in Venezuela?

 And Insight Crime tells us that Venezuela’s “Iron Fist” anti-drug (and corruption) initiative has produced arrests that are primarily just for show. None of those arrested are politicians of real influence.It’s really just an attempt to rehab Maduro’s image as the Chavistas are prone to do from time to time ever since they became a drug hub after refusing to cooperate with US- DEA and Colombian anti-drug efforts. FYI, Nicolas Maduro, Tareck El Aissami, and Diosdado Cabello, the three most powerful men in Venezuela, are all tied to the drug trade.

 And Down The Rabbit Hole we go….

 In their first whitepaper,the document containing the concept and goals of the project, el Petro was to be backed by their unmatched oil reserves (to get around that nasty little credibility issue). Each Petro coin (they initially issued 100 million coins) would be backed by a barrel of oil and the price would be the same as said barrel, initially set at $60. Sounds good right? Sort of their version of when sovereign currencies had the gold standard. Details to follow…?

 The usual suspects created quite a buzz. Supportive governments and individuals were quick to pose the question, “Is this the way of the future?”, just as they had all rushed to proclaim 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism as “the way of the future” and were now desperately reaching for something positive in the debacle that was (and is) Chavismo.It wouldn’t take long for reality to set in although Maduro and his supporters would continue to hype it…to this day.

 Reality comes into play when real people have to invest real money in something. The crypto community had a lot of questions for Chavismo. The first was, what does backed by a barrel of oil mean? The answer will surprise absolutely nobody. Let’s say you had 100,000 Petros and wanted to sell them but there were no buyers.Could you send a tanker to Venezuela and pick up your 100,000 barrels of oil? Well…no. The barrels of oil backing el Petro were designated to come from a couple of blocks in an oilfield that had yet to be developed. It was really a glorified IOU.

 Well…OK…let’s say I was still willing to buy some Petros. What blockchain technology is supporting el Petro? Originally el Petro would use the Ethereum platform which was well known in the crypto community. It seems someone forgot to tell Ethereum. Then they said they would use the NEM platform. NEM wasn’t at the top of the list like Ethereum but they did exist. Well…NEM didn’t get the memo. As the first of several “official launch” dates approached the Chavistas announced the creation of their own platform that would support el Petro. Funny thing is, when you went to their website for some details about their platform it looked as if someone just copied and pasted details of the DASH cryptocurrency platform. Hmmm… If you wanted to actually use the platform you could go to “the manual” to find out how to buy PTR, the symbol for el Petro. The only problem was that the manual was just a cover page that said “Manual”. Hmmm…

 More tomorrow….

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