I Don't Understand

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…There was a piece in DW that summed up this whole Biden administration talking to the Maduro regime about oil thing perfectly (they deny it…kinda’). UT energy expert,Jorge Pinon, (these Texas guys know their oil) says “I don’t understand… the country does not have the capacity to increase production…Even if there was a deal Venezuela owes US and international companies a lot of debt so the first step, an oil for debt deal. Would Maduro do a deal where he gets no money?”

 Then we have what the tanker guys are thinking. Trade Winds reports tanker owners expect it will be years before Venezuela’s output is restored.

 And Splash reports, Gibson Brokers says surpassing 1 million bpd (barrels per day) would take at least a year.

 But then we have The Hill reporting that even though they deny any deal is in the works, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan,says sanctions relief must be tied to “concrete steps.” I guess that’s the sanctions relief for the deal we’re not talking about.

 And we have The Daily Star telling us that the President of Venezuela Petroleum Chamber says “If the US authorizes requests by partners of PDVSA (government owned oil company) they could increase production by 400,000 bpd.”

 And Reuters says that Chevron is set to trade Venezuelan oil if the US relaxes sanctions. All the other oil majors have pulled out of Venezuela but Chevron, through a series of sanctions waivers, has maintained a joint venture in Venezuela.

 And Business Standard reports that India hopes an OPEC production increase and a sanctions deal for Venezuela will make oil available to them cheaper. It’s worth noting that India has been walking a fine line keeping business ties going with Venezuela even through the sanctions period. They would buy Venezuelan oil ASAP. You have to wonder, if there was “a deal”,and we already know the Chavistas have  screwed almost everybody on every deal they ever made, would they honor a debt for oil agreement whereupon they get no money or would they sell it to India for cash? What do you think?

 And Raw Story reports the families of 8 US citizens still detained in Venezuela are asking the Biden administration to continue talking with Maduro. Would Maduro continue releasing prisoners on “good faith” or would he need, as he has said, sanctions relief?

 And then we had this piece from the Daily Caller. “Biden’s Plans With The Maduro Regime Could End In A Fiasco And Crush Venezuelan’s Hopes For Freedom.” They say it is unlikely that Maduro breaks ties with Putin. Venezuela officials have billions in Gazprombank. A failed deal would stabilize Maduro turning Venezuelans into the new Cubans.

 And we have Investing.com telling us that the US visit to Caracas makes Maduro appear validated, if only indirectly. The US does not officially recognize Maduro but recognizes his territorial control.

 And Caracas Chronicles says US talks on sanctions relief for Venezuela are really about the opportunity to undermine the Maduro regime’s alliance with Russia. The US still supports interim President, Juan Guaido, but doesn’t see Chavismo being out of power until at least 2024. One Chavista source said, referring to Maduro’s announcement he was restarting negotiations with the opposition (after the meeting with US officials in Caracas), “In Mexico the government will talk to the opposition but negotiate with the US.”

 Then we have Mehr News (Iran) reporting that Venezuela Foreign Minister said “We’re committed allies of Russia.”

 So we have people decrying talks with Maduro as legitimizing a dictator. Then we have others pushing for some kind of sanctions relief deal that they think will lower oil prices. In the background we have the “Green New Deal” folks, (AOC) et al, who everyone is afraid of with the midterms coming up in November and who really pulls Biden’s strings, wanting to keep US fossil fuel production depressed. Oil production in the US is not OK but maybe other countries? Maybe a deal with Maduro? They are, after all, a socialist regime, aren’t they?…..What a mess… Oh, and don’t forget the Biden administration likes to mention US (and global) petroleum reserve releases as helping bring down oil prices. They put out numbers that look big and sound good but, in reality, only have an effect for a few days or a week.

 And by the way, it’s worth remembering that US officials have said that a deal for sanctions relief would require that the Maduro regime condemn Russia’s actions (war) in Ukraine which they have refused to do.

 Moving on… Bitcoin.com reports that the TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court) ruled that Sunacrip (Venezuela cryptocurrency regulatory agency) has a strategic role. This voids a previous ruling allowing owners of seized bitcoin mining equipment to contest the seizure. In short, Venezuela’s cryptocurrency regulators can do whatever they want.

 Now let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 The demonstrations went on for four to five months at full strength and lingered after that. Maduro must have figured that the 40 protesters killed in 2014 didn’t get his point across so he upped his repression game this time.165 were killed, 1,958 wounded, and over 5,000 detained.As usual, Maduro blamed all Venezuela’s problems on the economic war being waged against “The Revolicion”by the USA, Colombia, far-right oligarchs, etc.He also blamed the same crowd for the violence associated with the protests and even the protests themselves. Certainly it was inconceivable that the Venezuelan people weren’t happy.

 As the days turned into months and the violent clashes mounted along with the death toll Maduro called for dialogue. He abhorred the violence being perpetrated on the peaceful people of Venezuela by a few extremists. He failed to mention that his guys were the ones with the guns. The opposition didn’t want dialogue, they wanted a recall election to oust Maduro, which was a foregone conclusion should a free and fair election be held.

 In 2017 the international community still hadn’t caught on to Maduro’s game and some of them haven’t to this day. When confronted with a threat to his regime he calls for dialogue while he represses dissent (the usual,killing,wounding,beating, and jailing) knowing full well that time is on his side.The opposition has shown in the past that given time they will always manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The dialogue went on for months,changing venues,mediators, representatives shuffling in and out of meetings constantly telling any who would listen that progress had been made and they were optimistic about the prospects for the next meeting. The Dominican Republic,Mexico, former Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero,and even The Pope continually parroted the same line.

 In the midst of all the upheaval and chaos combined with the confusion and lack of clarity over dialogue on the part of the opposition Maduro saw an opportunity. The nullification of the National Assembly by the TSJ (the assembly still existed but any laws passed by them would be ruled unconstitutional) wasn’t enough for Maduro. He called for the creation of a constituent assembly (referred to as the ANC). Snap elections were called and Maduro, the TSJ,and the Electoral Council all confirmed the legitimacy of creating a parallel assembly despite the fact that according to the constitution, written by Hugo Chavez by the way, required a referendum. Maduro was skipping that step proving once again that the TSJ would rule that the constitution was whatever Maduro said it was. The ANC would consist of representatives from all electoral districts and their primary responsibility would be to rewrite the constitution although they would be all powerful and beholden to nobody so they could pass laws etc.

 More tomorrow….

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