New World Disorder

 Before we head Down The Rabbit Hole let’s take a look at a few things. First up, The Global Americans had a good piece titled “The Transitional World Order.” It looked at the world divided into two groups, the liberal,democracies like the US and EU countries, and the illiberal, authoritarian countries led by China. The liberal countries are led by the US (although some say the US under Joe Biden isn’t doing much leading) while the illiberal countries are led by China seeking to become the world’s dominant power. A good example of China-encouraged emerging illiberal countries would be Venezuela,at least as far as the game plan goes.

 In return for their silence/tacit support on China’s actions ie; the internment of two million Uighur Muslims and it’s expansion into the South and East China Seas the illiberal countries receive money from China and China won’t condemn any of their actions hence they have an affinity for authoritarian regimes (like Venezuela). They have no concern for the internal destruction caused by these regimes and encourage them to turn away from the IMF (International Monetary Fund),the World Bank, and law enforcement institutions like the US-DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

 In Venezuela this led to a big rise in narco-trafficking, illegal mining (severe environmental damage and repression/exploitation of indigenous peoples), prison gangs, and organized crime. As long as China receives it’s loan payments (in Venezuela’s case it’s oil for money) it is indifferent to what goes on within these subordinate countries’ borders. (They usually cite sovereignty and self-determination) The challenge for the Old World Order, the liberal democracies, will be to engage these troubled areas (countries) around the globe and help them resolve these issues in return for concessions before they become like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

 Then we have the Social Humanitarian Observatory reporting that malnutrition continues ravaging the citizens of Venezuela. The state has failed at protecting their right to food, basic services, and the CLAP food program has failed to deliver results.

 And we have the teachers union rejecting the new wage announced by the government. They say it should have increased by 280% since 2018.

 And Provea reports that the government has stalled the investigation into the Ripial Massacre which killed five indigenous people over a year ago.

 Then we have something unexpected coming from the US Treasury Department. They didn’t approve a new license for Chevron regarding it’s Venezuela operations. I’m not sure what this means. Either it’s a signal that some kind of deal is in the works for sanctions relief (in which case they wouldn’t need a special license)  or a signal for them to get the hell out of there.

 And in yet another “the hits just keep on coming” piece we have the CIADI (International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes) ruling against the Venezuelan government in the expropriation of Agroislena. It upheld the settlement for $1.6 billion plus $1.1 million in legal costs and $16.3 million in expenses. This brings the total CIADI rulings against Venezuela to over $14 billion. As they say, a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

 Then we have Spain rejecting the second asylum request by Hugo Carvajal ( “The Chicken”) however, the extradition process is still ongoing and is being reviewed by the courts.

 And on the bureaucratic front we have the director of SAIME, responsible for issuing government IDs and passports, saying Venezuelans will now be able to choose an appointment date for passports. They previously just issued a statement that all expiring passports would be extended (without documentation) due to Covid-19. They didn’t say when that option would be available.

 Now let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 Today’s refugees (I think we’re beyond the “migrant” category)are arriving on the doorstep of host countries with less than nothing. Most have delayed leaving because they were trying to scrape together a little money for bus fare and maybe an extra dollar or two. Finally giving up hope on being able to afford bus fare most are just taking off on foot with whatever they can carry and what few dollars they may have and many have health issues. Most cross the border with Colombia because no matter where you are going you first have to get out of Venezuela.

 Due to a number of factors,all Chavista-created, many of these “walkers” have no documentation. To cross the border everybody pays. If you have documents you can use the legal crossings but you will have to bribe the National Guard or you will languish at the back of the line indefinitely. If you don’t have documents you will have to pay “coyotes” to sneak you across. Crime is rampant on both sides of the border. If you are legal and have documents and money for the bribe you are a target for kidnapping or robbery, both of which are way up. If you are illegal you will have to pay the “coyotes” somehow so what do you do? People barter with whatever they have. There is also a common practice of using children (who should be in school by the way) as pack mules for the river crossings. Some turn to crime to make money. Better to be a criminal than a victim.

 So let’s say you make it across and now you’re in Colombia.You’ve used all your scant resources to escape the hell that is Venezuela under 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Now what do you do? There has been a drastic increase in recruitment by ELN guerillas and FARC dissidents, right-wing paramilitaries, drug traffickers, human smugglers, prostitution rings, and other criminal elements (in case I missed anybody). Desperate women sell their hair, their bodies, even their children.

 So…let’s say (again) you’ve avoided the other numerous pitfalls and although you have nothing your life and your family are still more or less intact. What do you do? Unfortunately for the “walkers” the Venezuela migrant/refugee crisis gets nowhere near the media coverage as migration related issues (crises) in Africa and the Middle East (and now Ukraine). While I have enormous respect for the various aid groups around the world trying to keep their fingers in the dyke the reality is help will always arrive too slowly.It’s much easier to jump on the news and pledge millions of dollars in relief here or there than it is to deal with the logistics of actually getting the help where it’s needed. That said, Venezuelans aren’t just getting less news coverage, they’re getting less money.According to NGOs, aid groups in Africa and the Middle East typically operate on 50% of needs.Yes, it sucks, but that’s the reality. As bad as that is, the groups dealing with the Venezuela crisis operate on 21% of needs! (note : On a per capita basis ten times more was spent on Syrian migrants/refugees than on Venezuelans)

 More tomorrow….

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