Be Democratic,Pretty Please

 We’ll have our wrap up of this week’s Down The Rabbit Hole chapter in a few but first …we have our headliner courtesy of Caracas Chronicles, “Be Democratic, Pretty Please.” It pertains to their piece on the EU Electoral Observation Mission presenting it’s report on the November elections in Venezuela. It tells us what we already know but it’s good to hear them say it. I also have to give those Chavistas that said “They’ve already written their report.” prior to the elections a little credit. They were right in the respect that this is the truth, not the Chavista narrative. So here you go …

 Strengthen the independence, separation of power and trust in the TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court). I’m not sure if you can strengthen an independence that doesn’t exist. I think create independence might be better terminology. The TSJ is nothing but a rubber stamp for whatever Maduro wants. Remember our number regarding the TSJ rulings on petitions before the court under Chavismo? (Current, just for show rulings aside) For Chavismo rulings – 50,000 … against Chavismo rulings – zero. You can’t strengthen something that doesn’t exist.

 The EU deputy and Head of Mission for the observers tells us they have no idea why the government didn’t respond to their visa petitions. Oh,really? Let me clear it up for you. They wanted to kick you out of the country! I could go into all the reasons why but I think you (and we) already know them.

 There needs to be a new law for selection of judges …more transparency in the selection process. Maduro’s National Assembly is currently putting on a show with it’s sham judicial reform. It’s new process is a convoluted affair that is anything but transparent and is Chavista controlled at every step. There also has been no mention of making judicial appointments permanent. In it’s current form the Chavistas (Maduro) can fire judges at will.

 The CNE (electoral council) needs reinforcement. Well, I hate to break it to you but Chavismo already did it’s farce of a restructuring of the CNE by putting two opposition members on it’s five person board. The Chavistas maintain a 3-2 majority so the change effectively means nothing. Under Chavismo that’s as good as it’s going to get.

 Other recommendations are a  balance of state media coverage, the need to void the Anti-hate law, and the need to address the use of the Carnet de la Patria (homeland card) system and public funds for campaigning.

 One CNE board member (one of the two opposition members) said this about the report. “…complete,well-meaning, and pointing out elements that need to be corrected.” I doubt that will be the Maduro regime’s official response to the EU report.

 Then we have the Venezuela Observatory of Finance reporting that 99% of stores use the US dollar as a reference for pricing. So much for relying on the stability of the bolivar.

 And here’s a head scratcher for ya’. Maduro announced that Venezuela has surpassed it’s Covid-19 vaccination goal and the rate currently stands at 102%. How is it possible to vaccinate more than all the people?

 Maduro also voiced his support for Russia. “We reject all plans to militarily surround Russia.” Uhh…who, exactly, is doing the surrounding over there?

 And in a follow up to the Credit Suisse revelations, the Venezuela opposition is calling for an investigation into Venezuelans with ties to PDVSA with accounts at Credit Suisse. Good luck with that.

 Then we have the National Journalists Guild denouncing actions taken against Erica Verdi, Director of Tachira News, intending to tie her to FARC dissidents. It’s the same tactic we recently covered about Chavismo smearing and intimidating anyone that strays from the official narrative.

 We also have Human Rights group Fundaredes telling us that 2,500 children are in danger every day crossing the Colombia/Venezuela border via illegal paths to get to school. They are forced to do this in areas where the government hasn’t opened the official crossings.

And the captain of the Majawana community (indigenous community) is reminding us that the invasion of indigenous lands continues (Maduro’s Mining Arc). Miners either try to buy inhabitant’s cooperation or threaten to kill them.

 The Venezuela Observatory of Social Conflict reports there have been 92,719 protests in Venezuela in the last 10 years.For those who still blame sanctions for the ills of Venezuela under 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism let me explain it to you. Ten years ago was 2012, three years before Obama issued the first sanctions,which were only targeting individual Chavistas, and five years before sanctions were directed at the government. The Venezuelans have been protesting, starving, and dying under Chavismo for a long time.

 Oh, and we have another item that surfaced on the Credit Suisse front. The CEO of Ternium and former director of Sidor (government steel company) had a Credit Suisse account with over $1 million…hmmm…

 And just so we don’t forget, in Merida they are having their 2nd transportation strike as gas shortages continue.

 We also have Y net telling us that Israel has accused Iran of providing Venezuela with munitions for drones. Could this be that bi-lateral cooperation Iran and the Maduro regime keep talking about.

 In the seemingly never ending stream of cases brought against the Venezuelan government seeking payment we have this from Law360. Koch Industries has been given the green light to seek enforcement of it’s previously awarded $400 million judgement in Delaware and attach Citgo assets.

 Now let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole for the brief conclusion of “Free Gas” …

 Summary : This shouldn’t take long. Gasoline remained basically free in Venezuela for years. The price didn’t remain low to benefit the people.As we’ve seen, Maduro shows nothing but disdain for them but he does need to keep the military happy. Funny how them being able to smuggle tanker trucks to Colombia that cost only a nickel per truckload and sell them for $20,000 will do just that. With the Venezuelan people either subject to gas rationing or waiting in line for days to fill up how can Maduro be shipping oil and gasoline to Cuba in return for his Cuban “advisors”. The Venezuelans deserve the same commitment from their president (dictator) that he shows to Cuba. The problem for them is that they don’t have anything Maduro needs. Elections are rigged so he doesn’t need their votes and the people benefiting from oil shipments and smuggling have proven more than capable of repressing any dissent. To Maduro the Venezuelan people seem to be a necessary evil.

 Note : Since this was written over two years ago the gasoline situation has shifted and if you can believe it is even crazier. Gasoline now has different prices and is carefully rationed. The subsidized price isn’t free but is still incredibly cheap, the world’s lowest, and if you go over the ration limit you pay over $10 a gallon, if you can get it. There is bartering going on, bribery going on, and the average Venezuelan may still wait in line for days to buy gasoline while shipments to Cuba continue. As we reported recently, with the drastic shortages of both subsidized and internationally priced gasoline the smugglers can’t get the cheap stuff to smuggle to Colombia and can’t make any money smuggling it from Colombia to Venezuela. maybe the government will have to find another way to mollify the military. As they say Down The Rabbit Hole, “It gets curiouser and curiouser.”

 That will do it for this week here at TFT. We’ll be back Monday with more news and our next chapter of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole, “El Dorado”. Unti then…

 Have A Great Weekend Everybody!!!!!!!

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