Honey, We Need To Talk

 We’ll get started Down The Rabbit Hole tomorrow. For today, first we have a piece from our friends at Caracas Chronicles titled “We Need To Talk About Sanctions” Uhh …No we don’t. Now is the time to “stand fast”. I know a lot of people are frustrated that sanctions have failed in their ultimate goal, to oust Nicolas Maduro and his destructive regime…but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Short of military action, which nobody wants, except maybe a few hard-liners in the opposition in Venezuela, they are the only option, as to do nothing is a tacit admission that what the Maduro regime has done and is doing is OK.

 Yes, dialogue is an option but it is also an option with sanctions in place and they reduce the leverage the regime has in any negotiations, which have been attempted four or five times to no avail.

 Yes, Maduro has benefited from the high oil prices due to the Russian invasion (not a special military operation) of Ukraine but the Maduro regime has also lost other support Russia can no longer provide due to …yes…sanctions.

 The contention that sanctions impact basic services needs to be viewed in the respect that basic services are humanitarian in nature and are thus exempt from sanctions. Any negative impact sanctions may have on these services can easily be addressed and circumvented if the Maduro regime had the desire to do so. It does not! Sanctions are a scapegoat for the regime but that doesn’t mean you remove them. To believe lifting sanctions relief will help the Venezuelan people you have to believe Maduro would use the extra revenue for any of the many things they need. He has proven time and again he will not.

 The Maduro regime could provide food, medicine, water, and electric power to the Venezuelan people right now using some of the estimated $9 billion in illicit trafficking money the regime takes in. It’s a simple matter of priorities and we’ve seen that Cuba, and the help they provide him to remain in power, is a higher priority than the Venezuelan people.

 There are a lot of things working against Maduro right now…all the court cases around the world for the regime’s financial wrongdoing. Then there’s the ICC (International Criminal Court)  investigation into the Maduro regime’s Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity. Sanctions removal will only help Maduro and do NOTHING, I REPEAT, NOTHING FOR THE VENEZUELAN PEOPLE!!  He can help them right now if he had any intention of doing so. In the words of the late, great, Stan Lee, “Nuff said.”

 Moving on… Maduro now promises to restart Petro Caribe (Remember what we said about priorities?) with a 35% discount for gas and $370 million in debt forgiveness  for participating countries. How is it that he can supply fuel to Petro Caribe countries when he can’t supply his country’s needs?

 And we have ANC (Maduro’s now disbanded illegal parallel national Assembly) imposed Prosecutor General appointing a prosecutor to investigate FOSPUCA for participating in deforestation. So far Chavismo has been indifferent to environmental caused by anyone… especially themselves.

 Then we have humanitarian agencies asking the President of Argentina to ask the Maduro regime for the release of the  Fundaredes (Human Rights organization) president, who’s still in jail, as well as the usual requests for ending censorship, criminalization of Free Press, and defending Human Rights. I guess they have to use a back door since Maduro doesn’t do anything when they approach him directly.

 And we have the Venezuela Ombudsman’s Office assuring the International Ombudsman’s Federation Assembly that significant progress has been made protecting the Human Rights of seniors. No mention was made of ‘extreme poverty level pensions’ and premature deaths of seniors in Venezuela.

 And in potentially positive news (as has been reported elsewhere previously) CEPAL estimates Latin American economic growth this year to be just under 2% while they predict Venezuela’s will grow at a 5% rate (discounting that outlier estimate of 20% growth from Credit Suisse).If this fragile economic recovery holds it would signal a welcome end to 8 years of recession (every year since Maduro took power).

 Then we have ICC Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan, asking Moscow to collaborate with the ICC’s requests. In short, NO WAY is this going to happen. Putin is a lot smarter than Maduro and he knows that if he refuses to cooperate with them he’s not bound by any findings.

 And we also have The Good Men Project with the contention that Alex Saab (corrupt businessman at the center of Maduro’s fraudulent financial schemes) was a diplomat which,as we’ve previously covered, was (is)  totally fraudulent and they credit him, along with Maduro, for Venezuela’s tenuous economic recovery. Alex Saab had noting to do with it nor did any of Maduro’s policies. Whatever positive signs we’ve seen coming out of Venezuela are a direct result of higher oil prices and the de facto dollarization of Venezuela (which Maduro is trying to screw up with his foreign currency/cryptocurrency tax).

 Then we have Law360 telling us that a judge in Delaware has signaled he’s willing to grant attachment to Red Tree Investments pertaining to their award of $246 million. Another day, another company lining up to go after Citgo shares for debt payment.

 And India Today has joined other outlets with stories about the rains in Venezuela continuing causing flooding and mudslides. As we’ve said, the situation is exacerbated by the deforestation occurring under the Maduro regime, today’s earlier  story notwithstanding.

 Then we have Daily Sabah (Turkey) reporting that Maarif Foundation is opening a school in Caracas. We welcome any help with the collapsed education system in Venezuela. Maybe they can feed some of the children.

 And we have Telesur (government media) telling us that FANB (Army) says “struck hard…Colombian Drug Trafficking Armed Terrorist Groups”… “Part of Operation Bolivarian Shield ( Venezuela/ Colombian border region) … dismantled several infrastructures used for drug processing… seized weapons.” Sounds like a big deal huh? Well, the reality is there were no photos or video of the “infrastructures”, no arrests or apprehensions, and the “weapons seized were : 10 mag guns, one 22 caliber rifle, one shotgun, two magazines, and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. It was basically nothing.

 And we also have Telesur with a little expose’ on deforestation…wait for it…in Brazil! No mention of the massive deforestation occurring in Maduro’s “Mining Arc” as well as all the deforestation all across Venezuela as people have to cut down trees for their wood fires as they can’t get cooking gas.

 And, as if we didn’t know, CGTN tells us that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine (invasion) is impacting tourism in Venezuela and specifically on Margarita Island.

 And how about this “big news” from Telesur…they report that Tareck El Aissami, VP of the economy and Oil Minister, says Venezuela and Turkey signed 8 ‘cooperative instruments’. I’m not sure exactly what a ‘cooperative instrument’ is (I think you get jail time in Venezuela for asking such a question) but I do know they sign hundreds of agreements all the time. It’s always to great fanfare and speeches replete with terms like “defense of multilateralism” (they drive my spell check crazy with these terms…you know.. like Maduro’s “pluripolar world”) and when the dust settles they never amount to much.

 And not to be outdone as far as propaganda goes we have Anadolu Agency (Turkey)  reporting everything in the Telesur article as well as telling us the top Turkish diplomat urges businesses to invest in Venezuela.

 More tomorrow….

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