They Can't Help Themselves
We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a sec but before we get to that there’s this. After eight years of nothing but complete economic free fall there have actually been a few signs of stabilization lately.A lot of this is due to the de facto dollarization occurring in Venezuela with over 60% of transactions taking place in dollars allowing the beleaguered bolivar to stabilize. They are also the number one country in Latin America in cryptocurrency adoption. It may not be prosperity but it’s a far cry from the madness caused by the Maduro regimes prior policies. Well, we can’t have that now can we?
Nicolas Maduro just approved a 20% tax on all transactions in foreign currency including cryptocurrency. It’s worth noting “the Petro”,Maduro’s fraudulent cryptocurrency wasn’t mentioned…but I digress. So let me get this straight, the one thing that’s working in Venezuela will now be hit with a 20% tax. They couldn’t just leave it alone? Nope, they just can’t help themselves.
With all the happy talk from the Maduro regime about their outstanding success in achieving a 95% vaccination rate for Covid-19 (although they haven’t been talking about the alarming spike in cases in recent weeks) it was time for a dose of reality. PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) puts the actual vaccination rate in Venezuela at 47.6%.
Then we have the IACHR (Inter American Council on Human Rights) saying neither Ortega (Nicaragua) nor Maduro show signs of constructive dialogue. “The humanitarian crisis and the remains of the justice system serve the dictatorship.”
And things have gotten even worse for those living on the Colombia/Venezuela border. It seems the recent violence between various factions competing for control of the smuggling/trafficking routes has hurt revenues for the gangs. In the Colombia city of Cucuta the gang Tren de Agua is now forcing citizens to pay a “safety fee.”
Now let’s talk oil. Oilprice.com did a piece on oil major Chevron, one of the few companies that hasn’t completely abandoned Venezuela, and PDVSA (Venezuela government owned oil company) are in talks to give Chevron more control over their joint venture to enable debt relief for PDVSA. The talks are informal since Chevron would need a sanctions waiver in order to do the proposed oil for debt swaps. It is, however, a positive sign as everyone, including the Chavistas, knows PDVSA needs all the help it can get.
Then we have Hart Energy reporting that the Biden administration is considering a request from Chevron for sanctions waivers to allow acceptance of oil for debt payments. No decision yet. At least it’s being considered which is a positive thing.
Compare these two stories with a couple of pieces from RT (Russia) and Fars (Iran) that both had the same headline, “US weighs seizing Venezuelan Oil.” I read both articles carefully and nowhere in either of them was there any mention of the US looking to seize anything. It was basically detailing the same material as the stories from Oilprice.com and Hart Energy. Never let the facts get in the way of a good US bashing headline.
We also have NR Daily telling us that the Biden administration really has no Venezuela policy. When the US State Department closed it’s embassy in Venezuela the Trump administration appointed a special representative to Venezuela, in lieu of an ambassador, to keep the lines of communication open. The Biden administration, after a year in power, has yet to name a special representative to Venezuela. They did, however, issue a warning to Venezuela and Cuba regarding oil shipments and sanctions violations and their consequences. There has basically been nothing since and nobody seems to be paying attention anyway as Iran tankers come and go to Venezuelan ports. Might this be one of those issues a special representative to Venezuela might address? Just a thought.
And now, Down The Rabbit Hole we go….
What about ratings agencies or organizations? Maybe they can shed some light on this if I’m still undaunted in my quest to own PTR. I mean, after all, the government announced in their “pre-sale” that they sold $735 million.No wait…they upped that to $3.3 billion. No wait…it’s actually $5 billion. I don’t want to let an opportunity pass me by, do I ? (Ever heard of the term FOMO? fear of missing out) It turns out that none of the above claims could be verified as sales…shocker! The top four cryptocurrency ratings organizations said it was a scam while the others refused to issue a rating. The Washington Post did,however, have something to say. “The Petro might be the most obviously horrible investment ever!” It’s also telling that the Chavistas wouldn’t accept their own currency for purchases of PTR although they would modify that stance after Maduro announced his economic overhaul and the introduction of the “Sovereign Bolivar.”
Despite these inconsistencies Maduro dispatched his minions around the globe to get some buyers for PTR (el Petro).I guess having been rejected on his last couple of jaunts around the world begging for money he decided to send emissaries. He offered a 35% discount to anyone that would support the “Glorious Bolivarian Revolution.” There were many reports of much more substantial discounts offered but they were unconfirmed, believable (if you know anything about these guys) but unconfirmed. Chavismo hyped the global interest to the max.”The Oil Minister to present Petro proposal to OPEC.” “Venezuela and Russia discuss Petro for…” “Venezuela and China meet regarding Petro.” And on and on it went.At the end of all this, actual,verifiable,recorded Petro sales…ZERO!
To further confuse the issue there was a dizzying array of announcements by Maduro, his Cryptocurrency Minister, and other government officials :
“Maduro hints at second crypto offering, Petro Oro, a gold backed cryptocurrency.”
“Maduro announces creation of Petro-funded crypto bank for youth initiatives.”
“Petro will be tied to the Fuerte Bolivar beginning in August. (weeks before the new currency, the Sovereign Bolivar, was launched)
“Petro will be used as unit of account for salaries,goods, and services.”
Decree 3.196 announced that the backing of the Petro will consist of a barrel of oil or ….wait for it…WHATEVER COMMODITY THE NATION DECIDES!!
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