WiFi Kills

 We’ll begin our next chapter of Venezuela : Down The  Rabbit Hole, “Voting With Their Feet” shortly but first…this was not the biggest news story about Venezuela this week but it was certainly the most unusual, although not surprising. Four members of the indigenous tribe Yanomami were killed by the Venezuelan military.This is not unusual nor surprising. The Venezuelan military kills indigenous people right along with everyone else.What is unusual is why it happened. It was a dispute over a WiFi pass code. Here’s how it went down.

 The deal in the area has been that the military provides the antenna for the internet service and the tribe provides the router.As we know, Maduro regime authorities tend to be somewhat overbearing and repressive, hence the term “authoritarian.” Well, it seems the military changed the pass code for the WiFi and when a member of the tribe asked for the new pass code they refused to give it to him. As the saying goes, “a scuffle ensued”, and the man was shot although he did survive. From there things escalated and the military shot and killed four of the Yanomami. I know the Chavistas kill people for any number of reasons but a WiFi pass code…really?

 Oh, and just so you know, the indigenous peoples tend to live in the border areas. Fundaredes, the Human Rights group, documented 47 battles in the border areas in January and February.

 In a positive development we have ICRC (Red Cross) reporting that they installed a water system for a community in Bolivar state. The community hasn’t had water for their health care center in 7 years. They can now resume practicing general medicine and dentistry. Is this the same country that, pre-Chavismo, was the most prosperous in Latin America? And wasn’t it Chavismo, through their “Barrio Adentro” program, that promised to bring health care to under served urban and rural areas? I guess reliable water and electric power weren’t part of the deal so the Red Cross had to do it. The good news is that the regime allowed the ICRC to do it, which they haven’t in years past citing “protecting the dignity of the people.” The bad news is there are communities all over Venezuela facing the same problem and the government should be addressing the issue, not dismissing or denying it.

 And on the Venezuela oil front, you know…deal or no deal?…We have Forex Live reporting oil major Chevron, the last US oil major in Venezuela, saying they can double Venezuela production, currently standing at 800,000 bpd (barrels per day) or 650,000 bpd, depending on whose numbers you believe (I tend to side with the 650 K number)….Biden is listening.

 Also relating to the oil deal situation we have NR Capital reporting that since the meeting in Caracas between Maduro and senior officials of the Biden administration Venezuela bonds are up over 50%. Clearly the money guys are betting a deal will happen.

 Then we have the Daily Caller reporting that House Republicans have introduced a bill banning Venezuela oil imports unless steps are taken to increase US oil production. With the Democrats in control of the House, what are the odds this bill will go anywhere?

 And we have a couple of migrant related stories. The New York Post reports that DHS has ordered the mass release of migrants, including many Venezuelans, due to overcrowding at detention facilities.

 We also have Telesur (government media) reporting that Venezuela’s Foreign Minister has announced the government will be tripling the number of flights for it’s “Return to the Homeland Plan.” So far, 28,000 Venezuelans have taken advantage of the plan…6 million Venezuelans have fled the country.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 Chapter 13/ Voting With Their Feet

 There is a lot of talk these days about the migration crisis at the southern border of the US. At the same time there seems to be a number of people that decry the state of things in the US and constantly harp on all the things wrong with America. The two issues, one would think, would be at odds. If there was so much wrong with the US it begs the question, why are so many people risking their lives to enter America illegally? Especially since the US admits more legal immigrants annually than any other country.

 Just as puzzling is the attitude of many people toward Venezuela, it’s dictator, Nicolas Maduro, and it’s government, Chavismo, also known as “21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.”During the first decade of Chavismo the entire world was enraptured with it and many hailed it as the way of the future. Now that we’ve had a second decade (plus a couple of years) of Chavismo all those same voices are suspiciously quiet about Venezuela while at the same time calling for the US, the same country they say has so many problems, to open it’s borders. Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and others are even calling for a border-less Western Hemisphere.

 For years the entire world focused on the migrant crisis of Syria (today it’s Ukraine, and rightfully so). It had a profound effect, not just just on it’s neighboring countries, but on countries all over Europe, including the UK. It’s worth noting that the European Union has an open border policy. These things all scream for a closer look, however, we’re not here to delve into why many people think the US is the place to be and the Syrian migration may have been the driving force behind the UK’s Brexit. Our focus here is on Venezuela so let’s take a look at their migration crisis and its effect both internally and externally. It’s worth noting that up until a couple of years ago many of Venezuela’s neighbors criticized the US for not opening it’s borders.

 Before 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism the number of Venezuelan migrants, worldwide, was negligible. They simply didn’t leave and it’s easy to understand why. Venezuela is incredibly blessed in both natural beauty and natural resources.It certainly had it’s share of issues and inequalities, as all countries, including the US, do. It had a poverty rate of 50% so clearly there was an underlying problem but, in hindsight, most Venezuelans would happily trade today’s over 90% poverty rate with 77% living in extreme poverty. Remember, the UN classifies extreme poverty as earning a dollar a day or less. There really isn’t even a category for those millions of Venezuelans (the current 18 fold minimum wage increase not withstanding) earning a few bucks a month. (Every time Maduro has bumped up the minimum wage it  returns to the depressed level)

 Venezuela back then had a substantial middle class, was climbing out of third world status and firmly in the emerging market category.Almost all Venezuelans living abroad were pursuing a career or entrepreneurial opportunities. Then, with the election of Hugo Chavez and the arrival of Chavismo, everything changed.

 More tomorrow….

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