Eye Of The Beholder

 We’ll be heading Down The Rabbit Hole shortly but first…We’ve talked earlier about the Chavista’s vaguely worded laws which allow for “the law is what we say it is”, you know, things like the “Hate Law” which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for criticism of a high official. Well, Merco Press reports that Venezuelan authorities arrested a 72 year old woman for “incitement to hatred” and forced her to apologize in a subsequent recording uploaded to the account of the Attorney General. The Chief Prosecutor accused her of instigating the assassination of the president. Her crime was, in a video of her preparing arepas, a Venezuelan staple made from corn flour, she gave each one a name. One of those was “Widow”  named, she said, for Cilia Flores, the wife of Nicolas Maduro. When told that Cilia wasn’t a widow…yet she replied “But that’s what we all wish for.”

 When the video went viral the police, CICPC, the ‘scientific police’, were soon at her door. Remember the article a while ago where the woman said authorities only investigate crimes if it’s on social media? The woman made the apology video out of fear for her son who was arrested even though he had no connection to the video. It’s a common practice of the Maduro regime, arrest innocent family members so they can extort compliance with their wishes. Remember things like this when you hear about “Hate Laws.” Hate is in the eye of the beholder. At least she didn’t get the maximum sentence of 2o years,

 And Telesur (government media) reports that Argentina’s President, Fernandez, a fellow socialist of Nicolas Maduro, is calling on other Latin American countries to re-evaluate and re-establish relations with Venezuela. Ecuador’s President says he’s not quite ready to do that.

 In relation to the Telesur story we have the Director of Human Rights Watch questioning Argentina’s President’s call for normalization with the Maduro regime. His question is, “What has changed?”

 Telesur also had a piece on the ‘vandalism’ of the Venezuelan Consulate in Bogota, Colombia, which was set on fire. (Colombian authorities blame it on a homeless man setting a fire that got out of control) Venezuela’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is quite upset. “…lack of shelter and protection of this consular headquarters violates the Vienna Convention.” They also maintain that the consulate has been repeatedly vandalized. Uhhh…OK… but why is it that you had to weigh through the various statements of outrage by the Foreign Ministry to get to the pertinent fact? That would be that the Venezuela Consulate in Bogota has been closed since 2019.

 Then we have the UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) telling us that members of the Venezuela indigenous Warao tribe are working with them helping other Warao migrants in Brazil border communities. The UN and these Warao volunteers are doing far more for indigenous people than the Maduro regime who never miss an opportunity to tell us how much they care for indigenous peoples meanwhile doing nothing but harm them (and in many cases kill them).

 And we have Caracas Chronicles telling us the Maduro regime is reforming the Family Protection Law to apply to communes. This would be in keeping with it’s Marxist emphasis on developing communes and usurping control of the local communities around them.

 Then we have NGO Coordinadora de Pensionades y Jubildos, once again, protesting “the extermination” of retirees…”dying because they can’t afford food or medicine.”  We’ve touched on this before. The monthly stipend for pensioners and retirees in the same as the monthly minimum wage, which recently received an 18 fold increase, to approximately $30 a month. How benevolent of the Chavistas to allow people who worked all their lives to have a buck a day to spend on food and medicine. (We didn’t mention other needs like clothing etc.)

 We also have Caracas Chronicles telling us about something that hasn’t received much coverage. The deadline for the Maduro regime to submit it’s final report on it’s investigation(s) into their own Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity (remember, the investigation(s) they assured everyone would be rigorous and thorough?) to the ICC (International Criminal Court), investigating the same, expired April 16th. No word on receipt of an extension or even if one has been requested as they have previously. I guess we’ll just have to wait for a statement from the ICC…

 Lets head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 As 2017 wore on we saw the creation of Maduro’s parallel National Assembly, the ANC. Although created (supposedly) to rewrite the Constitution (that would be the constitution already rewritten by the revered Hugo Chavez) years passed without them doing anything in that regard. Their first move was to pass an Anti-Hate law called the Anti-Hate Law for Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence. As I’ve said before, nobody calls for peace more than those who foster violence. Nobody calls for tolerance more than the intolerant. Nobody is less democratic than those constantly calling for the protection of democracy. Again, I believe this stuff as much as I believe in the names of countries using “The Peoples” …or The Democratic Republic Of…”

 The new anti-hate law (still in effect even though the unconstitutional ANC has been disbanded) carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for anyone that instigates hate or violence using Radio, TV, Print, or Social Media if the government views it as promoting hate or intolerance. The Anti-Hate Law can be used against anyone, big or small. Take, for example, the Caracas subway worker fired for a Facebook post in which he complained that his salary was so small that he couldn’t afford laundry detergent to wash his uniform. The Caracas Metro is owned by the government and the take away is : no criticism of the government, no matter how minor it may seem, is permitted…by anyone.

 The information and speech strangle hold continued to tighten. over the period from 2013-2018 over 50 print media organizations closed their paper-based dailies with only a few opting for weekly publication. In December,2018 the last opposition-friendly newspaper went out of print. This left digital media as the only method of dissent, and in reality, to tell people the truth. Real-time reporting on important issues became almost non-existent leaving only the government version of events and even that wasn’t reported in a timely manner.

 Fact checking became a huge challenge without any independent media. When the government, in an attempt to prove that not all the economic news was bad, reported coffee production at 126,270 tons it was way after the fact that the real number of 39,000 tons came out. On a personal note, I like to keep track of oil production figures since it’s 94-96% of the revenue (legal) for the government. It took me a while but I finally found a way to get verifiable numbers, not believing the government numbers. There’s a satellite tracking service that monitors the tanker shipments and you can’t falsify actual tankers leaving ports so that gives you real export numbers. To nobody’s surprise, their numbers are always substantially lower than what the government puts out there. If I have that much trouble getting real oil export numbers I can’t imagine what journalists go through trying to get the truth out there. In 2018, Armando.info reported on businessman Alex Saab (now on trial in the US) and his ties to Nicolas Maduro and his family regarding the CLAP food program as well as the government housing program. The government banned further reporting by them (Armando.info) regarding Alex Saab and began harassment tactics causing four of their journalists to leave the country. It was reported in 2019 that their information was accurate and the corruption of the CLAP program became a huge scandal, over a year later, and eventually led to the arrest and extradition to the US of Alex Saab.

 More tomorrow….

©Copyright 2021 TalesFromTeodoro.com all right reserved.