Alternate Reality

 We’ll get started with our next chapter of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole , “El Dorado” in a bit but first let’s talk about Venezuela’s (and other’s) alternate reality. We already know that Chavismo has it’s own version of everything and how it presents it to the world.It’s oil production numbers are never what they say they are when checked with secondary sources. Their Covid-19 infection and vaccination numbers are never what they say they are when checked with secondary sources. The condition and efficacy of it’s healthcare system and other services (you know, little things like water, power,and food) are never what they say they are when checked with reputable sources observing and reporting from the ground in Venezuela. We now have an addition or two to add to the Maduro regime’s alternate reality.

 McClatchy DC reports that Venezuela,along with Cuba,Nicaragua,and Mexico blame the US for the situation in Ukraine. They support the Russian’s aggression and Vladimir Putin’s vision of events and therefore his separatist nation rationale hence Russia must invade Ukraine to protect these “separatist, independent states.” OK, I get Venezuela, Cuba , and Nicaragua supporting their fellow dictator Putin but Mexico kinda’ took me by surprise. I know their president AMLO (Lopez Obrador) is a socialist but come on. The two “independent states” being used as Putin’s excuse for the invasion of it’s sovereign neighbor, Ukraine, didn’t declare their own independence, Putin declared them independent. So… if you follow that train of thought and extend it to AMLO and Mexico I guess the US could declare the Yucatan in Mexico an independent state and we would be within our rights to invade Mexico to protect the Yucatan…right?

 Then we have Telesur (government media) reporting that Venezuela VP Delcy Rodriguez says NATO violated the Minsk Agreement by expanding toward Russia and calls for dialogue. I didn’t hear anything about the Budapest Memorandum from Delcy, nor anyone else (other than Mark Levin) for that matter. When the USSR fell there was a lot of concern about all the nuclear weapons in Ukraine so the powers that be (signatories including Russia,US, and Great Britain ) promised to defend the security of Ukraine in return for the giving up all those nuclear weapons and turning them over to the Russians (supposedly for disposal). Everyone talks about Ukraine not being a NATO member but they are protected from aggression under the Budapest Memo. In this case it’s aggression from one of the countries pledged to protect them. So if I get this right…Russia needs to defend Ukraine from Russia… right?

 Then we have Greg Palast, journalist for Rolling Stone and other publications, telling us that Venezuela could produce 2 million bpd (barrels per day) of oil and a huge quantity of LNG that would reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and LNG. I have no idea where this guy gets the nerve to consider himself an expert but he clearly does. We here at TFT have proven many times and will continue to do so that the Chavistas, for all intents and purposes, destroyed Venezuela’s capacity to produce oil and the destruction was initiated by Chavez and continued by Maduro. Sanctions had nothing to do with it. Oh, and by the way, Venezuela has never really pursued LNG production. All reputable oil and gas analysts put Venezuela’s oil capacity at under 800,000 bpd and LNG capacity at almost nothing. It would take years and years and billions and billions of dollars (not mention a commitment by the Maduro regime and outside investors as well) to ramp up oil and LNG production. Where Greg Palast is coming from is definitely and alternate reality.

 Note : I’m sure Putin, as did Lenin before him, considers the Chavistas, Ortega in Nicaragua, AMLO in Mexico, and Greg Palast as well as all the rest of the Russia backers “useful idiots.”

 In a dose of actual reality (I almost said real reality) we have Foreign Policy telling us that with Maduro’s support of Russia sanctions relief by either the US or EU is less likely. In his normal short-sighted view of things, with the recent rise in oil prices, Maduro may not care.

 Then we have an interesting thought from McClatchy DC. They posit that the rise in oil prices may allow Venezuela to divert oil shipments from China to central America and the Caribbean to recover some of their lost influence. The problem with that reasoning is we don’t know how much production capacity PDVSA (government owned oil company) has left with it’s dilapidated infrastructure and lack of foreign investment nor how long prices will remain elevated. Since China doesn’t pay for oil due to all the loans made to Chavez and Maduro and they continue to ship free oil to Cuba how much can they really afford to send to Central America and the Caribbean? We are a long way from the “good old days” of Petro Caribe.

 And since we’re talking oil, how about this from Channel News Asia. They report that a Venezuela owned VLCC (very large crude carrier also called a super tanker) has been stranded in Asia since January and is currently in the process of offloading it’s cargo via ship to ship transfer. We don’t know the cause of the mechanical issues that caused the ship to become stranded although we do know that Venezuela’s tanker fleet has a lot of maintenance (or lack thereof) issues and are not permitted in a lot of ports. We also know that unlike offloading in port ship to ship transfers are very expensive. We also know that Venezuela already has to discount it’s crude due to both it’s heavy state and contamination issues. With the discounted price and the extra cost of offloading via ship to ship you have to wonder if these guys are making any money. It’s also worth noting that the tanker in question was traveling dark (it’s transponder was off, a common sanctions evasion method) and we don’t know the destination of the shipment.

 And lest we forget about the migrant situation we have Chile digging a ditch on it’s border with Bolivia to deter migrants from Venezuela crossing via Bolivia.

 We also have the Coalition For Human Rights and Democracy demanding fair process for Moises Cordero, the student that lost an eye due to pellets when shot by a GNB officer.

 Then we have another 9 dead at the Colombia/ Venezuela border due to an ELN announced “armed strike”.

On the environmental front we have NGO SOS Orinoco telling us that under Chavismo illegal mining has increased 840% in Canaima National Park. As we’ve told you before, it’s one of the most remarkable places on earth and the lack of protection it receives from the Maduro regime is a travesty.

 And proving it’s an equal opportunity destroyer, under the Maduro regime’s stewardship, the number of university professors in Lara, since 2015, is down to 1,200 from 2,900.

 Oh, and we have another case uncovered in the Credit Suisse banking scandal involving Venezuela/Chavista elites. This one goes back to 2004.

 Before it gets away from me, especially in light of SOS Orinoco’s report on illegal mining in Canaima National Park, let’s get started on this week’s segment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole…so here you go…

 Chapter 9/ El Dorado

 Chavismo has managed to destroy healthcare,the national oil company,the power grid and access to fresh water, the currency (three times over),food security, transportation security,and the hopes and dreams of an entire generation (working on another generation). In the interest of being an equal opportunity destroyer (one of my favorite ways to describe 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism) Maduro created “The Mining Arc” causing the rape of the environment and the simultaneous exploitation and slaughter of indigenous peoples. Since they basically destroyed  everything else in the country they certainly couldn’t leave the environment and indigenous peoples alone. If you haven’t heard about this you’re not alone. It’s funny how an American company can let a few drops of oil hit the ground in western Nebraska or an American soldier can (could) violate someone’s civil rights in Afghanistan and it’s all over the news yet Maduro can poison the rivers and kill the Pemon (indigenous) people and the environmentalists and Human Rights groups are largely silent. Please, allow me to enlighten you.

 As the economy collapsed around them many Venezuelans had to make a geographic change to survive. Millions (6 million and counting) left the country causing the largest migration crisis in the history of the western hemisphere. For thousands of people either unable or unwilling to leave the country they only knew they had to go somewhere, do something. Similar to the American west in the 1800s the best option for many seemed to be the mining region(s). For those who caused it, the Chavistas, this also seemed like a good idea.As we have previously seen,the Maduro regime, in it’s desperate search for money to pay the military,explored all options and exhausted all options. I’ve heard them compared to meth addicts who have already gone through all their money,sold everything they had of value, and then began destroying the house they lived in so they could rip the copper wiring out of the walls and get what they could for it to buy themselves a little more time. A perfect analogy.

 More tomorrow….

©Copyright 2021 all right reserved.