Flurry Of Insanity

 We’ll be starting our weekly Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment tomorrow but we have plenty to get to today. If you remember, last week we talked about the senior US officials that went to Caracas. Originally nobody knew much about the visit including who they were meeting. Then it turns out they were meeting with Maduro, at his request, and the speculation kicked into high gear,especially with Biden’s subsequent announcement that the US would not be buying any more Russian oil. Would they be buying oil from Venezuela? If so, what would the terms be? What else was discussed? And so on… I have to be honest, I thought it would all die down after a few days when everybody figured out that, for all intents and purposes, Venezuela had little if no oil to sell to the US. We covered the production numbers and Venezuela’s current obligations and it was clear there really wasn’t much to talk about. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Over the ensuing days we were treated to nothing short of a flurry of insanity over the US buying oil from Venezuela.

 Here’s a little taste :

 NJ.com reported Democrat Robert Menendez blasts the Biden administration for talking to Maduro. He describes him as “a cancer in our hemisphere” (and he’s right)…”Maduro continues to deprive Venezuelans of basic Human Rights, freedoms, even food.”

 Forex Live said that the US key requirement was any oil from Venezuela be shipped direct to the US.( How can we have a key requirement if the Biden administration isn’t confirming that they’re trying to make a deal?)

 Sputnik then says that Maduro announces “vigorous reactivation of dialogue”, referring to his prior announcement that Chavismo was restarting talks with the opposition even though they had walked away from the negotiating table with the opposition in Mexico when they freaked out over the extradition of Alex Saab, architect of Maduro’s fraudulent schemes, to the US, saying they wouldn’t reengage until Saab was released.

 McClatchy DC reported that from Interim President Juan Guaido’s briefing by US officials (Guaido is recognized by the US and 60 other countries as the legitimate President of Venezuela) on the meeting in Caracas, Maduro demanded an end to all sanctions and investigations directed at his family and that he be recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate ruler. (Funny the term ‘ruler’ is used and not President)

 Democracy Now quoted Maduro as saying, “They need the oil!”

 Chinamail.com reported that the US requires Venezuela to condemn Russia as a condition for sanction relief. Maduro says the US must lift sanctions first before talking about other items.

 AP reported that the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee called for the suspension of Venezuela oil sanctions.

 And as if to confirm what the Biden administration claimed was the real reason for the meeting in Caracas, McClatchy DC reported that two Americans were released by the Maduro regime. (Matthew Heath and others are still detained)

 And Telesur (government media) called the prisoner release by Maduro a “humanitarian gesture.”

 And after stating last week that Venezuela’s oil was available to “whomever wants to PRODUCE and buy it” (sounds like if you want it you have to help produce it) Caracas Chronicles reported  that Maduro said PDVSA will reach 2 million bpd (barrels per day) production this year. Remember last year? They had a goal of 1 and1/2 million bpd revised down to 1 million bpd and then when it was evident they wouldn’t reach that level of production they scrambled around using questionable local contractors (they’ve chased everyone else out of the country),paying with backpacks full of cash and scrap metal (yes, scrap metal) and still couldn’t reach a million without reporting phony numbers. And speaking of phony numbers, they’re reporting current production at 850,000 bpd while the more reliable OPEC secondary sources put it at just 600,000.

 Then we have Foreign Policy telling us that any US / Venezuela oil deal must not forget democracy.

 And we have Middle East Monitor saying that Maduro confirms the Russian right to defend it’s security. Uhh… wasn’t one of the US conditions for any kind of deal (even though the Biden administration denies a deal is in play) was that Maduro condemn Russia’s behavior? And remember that when the Maduro regime abstained confirming support for Russia at the UN it wasn’t about stating  a position or not. They abstained because they’re not allowed to vote because they owe $40 million in unpaid dues. What does that say about living up to their agreements?

 Then we have CBS reporting that US Senators condemn any oil deal with Maduro because Maduro and 14 other high officials are facing narco-terrorism, corruption, and drug trafficking charges in the US.

 And Blaze reports that Dems break rank with the Biden administration saying we need more domestic production not a Venezuela oil deal.

 So, does any of this make any sense to anybody? We have a regime we shouldn’t even be talking to about an oil deal due to all the outstanding charges here in the US, not to mention the ICC (International Criminal Court) investigation into the Maduro regime for Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity. And that’s if you believe they have any oil to sell, which they don’t, and if you believe they would live up to any agreement, which they’ve proven time and again they wouldn’t. I know the Biden administration is desperate to show the American people they’re doing something to curb high gasoline prices, especially in light of the Russian oil sanctions, but are they really naive enough and morally bankrupt enough to lift sanctions on the  Maduro regime in the hope that Venezuela may have a few barrels of oil to sell them? I would like to think not. Then again, these are the same people that brought you the Iran nuclear deal. I’ll say it again…this is a flurry of insanity! It does make you wonder who’s pulling Biden’s strings?

 In other news we have IRI telling us that a political solution to the crisis in Venezuela needs to include women. (We touched on this last week) Chavismo’s commitment to feminism is just lip service.There have been no written reports on women’s issues since 2018.

 And how’s this for either ‘pie in the sky’ or just misdirection? Argus Media reports Maduro says PDV(SA) is ready, once recovered to a basic level, to produce and grow to 1,2,3 million bpd. Note: He says “once recovered.” He’s all but admitting that Venezuela is really only producing,as OPEC secondary sources report, about 600,000 bpd. So, after you take out 300,000 bpd to China for past loans,another 56,000 bpd to Cuba (last year’s average which will certainly continue), and domestic consumption of 180,000 bpd what’s left? What are we even talking about?

 Then we have WLRN saying the US could relax sanctions on Venezuela and may get a little oil (or not), but can it get reform from the Maduro regime? I would have to say…real reform from the Maduro regime? NO!

 And we have VOA  reporting that Foundation For Defense Of Democracy says Venezuela’s possession of missile capable drones from Iran is a serious concern due to the Maduro regime’s close ties to Hezbollah.

 And how about an interesting financial twist? La Prensa Latina reports that a shortage of dollars in Venezuela (due to the de facto dollarization going on) has led to consumers using bolivares for anything under $5. They’re even using old Sovereign Bolivares that were supposed to be phased out in Maduro’s last redenomination in October…you know…the one where he lopped six zeros from their currency.

 And in migrant news we have IRC reporting that Venezuelans in Peru, now over 1 million, need economic,food, and healthcare help. The average family income for Venezuelans in Peru is $79 a month. The poverty line in Peru is $88 a month.

 More tomorrow….

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