What's Missing?

 We’ll head Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…we’ve said before that ‘news outlet’ Telesur (government media) is far from being the independent outlet they claim. They avoid covering anything that might cast a negative light on the Maduro regime and when they do cover what the Chavistas are doing or saying there’s usually something missing from the reporting. Take this, for example. Telesur reports that PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) calls on countries to improve efforts to combat malaria. So, what’s missing? Venezuela was “malaria free” before the arrival (and neglect) of Chavismo.

 And then we have Telesur reporting that Maduro says the Colombian President is planning selective assassinations of police and military and attacks on the electric grid and water supply “trying to stop the process of recovery and economic growth.” So, what’s missing? We’ll basically anything resembling facts, proof, corroborating evidence, etc. to substantiate these claims.

 And we have Telesur reporting that the WIDF (Women’s International Democratic Federation) is meeting in Venezuela. The Deputy Coordinator said “Arriving here and feeling the ‘Bolivarian fervor’ makes us happy.” Then they went on with more lip service from the Venezuela Minister For Women And Gender Equality. So, what’s missing? We’ve had several postings recently about Chavismo’s inaction in support of feminism and recent protests highlighting the regime’s lack of effort regarding women’s issues. There is not one concrete example of the Chavistas having done anything to advance the cause of women’s rights. When you hear a term like ‘Bolivarian fervor’ you know it’s going to be a propaganda filled spin fest.

 These are just a few of the many examples of Telesur’s biased reporting on what is (or is not) happening in Venezuela. And remember, when there is something negative it’s never about something negative in Venezuela, always some other country.

 Then we have BNN Bloomberg reporting that Leopoldo Lopez is calling for primaries to be held this year to select an opposition candidate to challenge Maduro in 2024, the next presidential election. Lopez has been one of my favorite opposition figures ever since he encouraged PEACEFUL protests in 2014 and was jailed for inciting violence. He was offered a deal if he would retract his statements regarding the Maduro regime and refused, remaining in jail in Venezuela which is no small thing. He is barred from participating in elections in Venezuela and is currently in exile in Spain. The challenge the opposition faces is that no opposition politician enjoys a better than 13% approval rating among Venezuelans including interim President, Juan Guaido. (Lopez is Guaido’s mentor) The good news is that Maduro’s approval rating is about 13% also. The last time the opposition held a primary was 2012 vs Chavez. Personally, I would like to see Maria Corina Machado get the nod. She is, more or less, the female version of Leopoldo. She has remained true to her principles and her belief that the only way forward for Venezuela is for Maduro to be gone. The only real question leading up to 2024 is how many opposition politicians will be barred from participating in the presidential election by the CNE (electoral council). They can ban someone simply because they are being “investigated” by the regime. It may not be exactly constitutional or even right but the authority to do so has been upheld by Venezuela’s TSJ (supreme corurt). Remember them? The guys presided over by a convicted murderer…

 Oh, and speaking of the TSJ, Maduro’s National Assembly has announced it’s “new” TSJ, down to 20 members from 32. It may be a month past the deadline but have no fear. The National Assembly did a thorough job and the list of judges (I hesitate to call them justices) is packed with Maduro loyalists and is still presided over by everybody’s favorite convicted murderer, Maikel Moreno.

 Then we have the president of the National Federation of Medicine telling us that the right to health isn’t guaranteed in Venezuela due to the hospital crisis (denied by the Chavistas). “80% of the hospital network is in ruins.”

 And we have Fundaredes (the Human Rights organizations whose director is still in jail in SEBIN’s notorious “El Heliciode”) reporting that people identified as officers in the Venezuelan Army have been forcing people from their homes and slaughtering their cattle. I guess that’s better than FAES dragging you out in the street and shooting you in the head.

 Then we have La Prensa Latina telling us that Bolivar state, whose economy revolves around mining, is now Venezuela’s priciest state. Prices there are double those in Caracas.

Oh, and in case you forgot, Law 360 reports that lawyers from the Maduro regime and Crystallex are still trading barbs in court regarding the $1.2 billion Citgo shares sale appeal. A Delaware judge has already ruled in favor of upholding the arbitration award for Crystallex and the decision is now in the hands of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Why does this matter? Well, Citgo is the only remaining asset of PDVSA (government owned oil company) worth anything and if Crystallex can go after shares of Citgo then others with judgements against the Maduro regime will be able to as well. Stay tuned…

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

 My personal favorite was in 2017. That was the year that, in addition to the usual rebound claims, Maduro laid out his plan to recover production. I know, it’s hard to beat the solutions of urban farming on the rooftops of Caracas or that Venezuelans shouldn’t view their cute little bunnies as pets but as 2 and 1/2 kilos of rabbit meat but this was a comprehensive plan. It was called the 15 Economic Motors of Productivity. It was hailed as the strategy that would finally allow “The Revolution” to win the “economic war” being waged against them.

 Each category, such as agricultural, industrial, technological, etc. was referred to as a motor of productivity and a chief was assigned and committees were formed. Maduro loves committees and ministries. Hugo Chavez had 11 ministries. Maduro had 32 ministries in 2019 and counting. Anyway… Tareck el Aissami, Maduro’s ex-VP, was put in charge of the project and all chiefs would report to him. You know him, the guy under indictment in the US with all the ties to drug trafficking and terrorism. He’s also the guy that was put in charge of restructuring Venezuela’s debt forgetting that since he was under sanction personally the bond holders were not allowed to be in contact with him. Sounds like just the guy for an economic turnaround project.

 After the fanfare and the photo ops there was a period where the 15 economic motors were referred to constantly. To this day they are still referred to on the government’s website however, after the initial media blitz the whole thing just, well …., it kinda’ disappeared. No announcements from the chiefs, Tareck, Maduro, nothing.As we know, production continued it’s downward spiral.

 Perhaps one day Maduro will connect the dots between work and productivity. The ongoing power crisis forced the official government workday to be shortened to 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM in 2019 and that’s on the good days. When there’s a widespread blackout workdays are simply cancelled. Workdays are also frequently cancelled to extend holiday periods to boost Maduro’s popularity. Without work there is no productivity and Chavismo’s “shared prosperity” is “shared poverty”. Maybe that’s why the poverty rate is now 95%.

 Hey, did you know that back in the day “The Concorde” flew to Caracas?

 This will tell you everything you need to know about the corruption of Chavismo (we mentioned it the other day). With virtually no economy to speak of Venezuela still ranks number 8 in the world in private jet ownership.

 Here’s something you just don’t think about. Venezuela used to produce a lot of zinc. Zinc is used in coffin liners. With the drop in production there have been coffin waiting lists for a while which creates problems due to the extended time bodies must be stored, not to mention the power problems. The good news is the coffin rental business is booming. Due to the shortage, coffin prices are up so most people can’t afford a coffin. They just rent one for the service to keep up appearances. After that it’s a bag or a box. I would say, “Is nothing sacred?” but we’re talking about Chavismo so it doesn’t apply.

 In our discussion of the lunacy that is Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) this one got lost in the shuffle. In 2009 the TSJ imprisoned a judge for “spiritual corruption” because Chavez didn’t like her ruling that a prisoner had to be released because, according to law, the time limit for holding him in custody had expired. (Another one of those “the law is what we say it is” things)

 Oh, and to meet the government’s housing mission projection for 2019 to build housing for the poor the government would have to build 1,554 units a day or approximately one per minute! Updated information not available.

 More tomorrow….




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