New Blood Diamonds

 We’ll head Down The Rabbit Hole shortly but first…Do you remember the furor over “Blood Diamonds”? Well, Human Rights Watch did a piece titled “Venezuelan Tainted Gold” contending that the illegal gold coming out of Venezuela be viewed in the same light.Most of the gold mining in Venezuela’s southern states is illegal. It is smuggled through Colombia, Guyana, and Brazil before being sold to black markets (and some legitimate markets) in the US, Canada, the EU, and other countries.

 Abuses to the general population and indigenous communities include amputations, shootings, killings, and forced servitude of children. All this is well documented as are the various negative environmental impacts including pollution, mercury poisoning, and deforestation. It’s another travesty by the Chavistas and those involved deserve to be prosecuted. And while they’re at it maybe they can find out what the Chavistas did with all the gold missing from Venezuela’s gold reserves, now down to under $5 billion from over $30 billion after Chavez brought most of it back to Venezuela from vaults overseas to “protect it for the Venezuelan people.” Why is it that everything Chavismo does in the name of “protecting the people” winds up hurting “the people”?

 And we have AP reporting that an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel has determined that the issue of Alex Saab’s (the corrupt Colombian businessman at the center of Nicolas Maduro’s fraudulent financial schemes) diplomatic status is best decided by Miami Federal Prosecutors overseeing the case. They have, thus far, taken a dim view of all the machinations by Alex Saab’s defense team. The defense has submitted documents from Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry and a “diplomatic note” from Iran’s embassy in Caracas. An attorney for the Justice Department says “This is a ruse set up by a rouge nation to evade criminal prosecution.” Ya’ think? Alex Saab’s attorneys had no comment.

 Then we have Telesur (government media) telling us, in true Telesur fashion, that “Dominicans Reject Ivan Duque’s (President of Colombia) Attacks Against Cuba and Venezuela”. The article blames him for everything from murder victims to Covid-19 deaths to selective assassination of those who defend the rights of indigenous peoples, farmers,and workers. (What? No links to the Kennedy assassination?) Signatories included various communist sympathizing organizations. We (the “Royal We”) don’t believe Duque bears responsibility for the issues raised and are skeptical of the myriad allegations. This iteration was kinda’ weak in comparison to the Chavista’s constant pounding of the table regarding Duque being a puppet of the “colonialists, imperialists, and right-wing oligarchs” intent on bringing down “The Revolution.” I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for old black and white news clips of the USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev taking off his shoe and pounding the lectern at the UN General Assembly.

 And we have Merco Press reporting that the Iranian Oil Minister is visiting with Nicolas Maduro to deepen bilateral ties between the two countries. He was previously in Russia. Next up…China? (Cuba and Nicaragua don’t have anything to offer)

 Then we have the US Department of State’s spokesperson, Ned Price, saying that Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, spoke with interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, to underscore the importance of the peaceful restoration of democracy in Venezuela, free and fair elections, and respect for the rights and freedoms of all Venezuelans. He reaffirmed the commitment to talks between the Maduro regime and the opposition’s Unitary Platform. He also reiterated US support for the democratically elected 2015 National Assembly of Venezuela and it’s interim President, Juan Guaido. These guys do a lot of reaffirming and reiterating.

Then we had TRT World with on Op Ed by a freelance analyst and NYU doctoral student, who also wrote for “Open Democracy and Globalization”. He asks the question “What does Maduro stand to gain by cooperating with the ICC?”  His answer is “Maduro hopes to turn the tables on the hard line opposition while dismantling the Human Rights rhetoric for the international sanctions. For Maduro, his hand is one worth playing.” FYI, when Maduro agreed to cooperate with the ICC investigation he submitted his own referral against the opposition and US and EU sanctions.

 This guy has been drinking the Maduro regime’s Kool-aid. Here’s an example : He cites the rise of malaria and tuberculosis in Venezuela as evidence of the negative impact of sanctions. He neglects to mention the fact that both malaria and tuberculosis (and others…like diphtheria and measles) were skyrocketing in Venezuela under Chavismo for years before the first government-directed sanctions were issued in 2017. I could go on and on but you get the idea…right?

 Now, let’s take a trip Down The Rabbit Hole….

 11/ Venezuela had the cheapest gasoline in the world (it still does depending on which price you use) for years, but not to benefit the people. It was used, through illegal trafficking, to buy loyalty from the military. See chapter 8

 12/ Venezuela’s (Maduro’s) “Mining Arc” is environmentally reprehensible, threatens indigenous peoples,and is another means to buy loyalty from the military. See chapter 9

 13/ The government ID card “Carnet de la Patria” (Homeland Card) is just another means of oppression through the weaponization (extortion) of government benefits. See chapter 10

 14/ The Maduro regime constantly displays a blatant disregard for it’s constitution, which was rewritten by it’s icon and namesake, Hugo Chavez. See chapter 11

 15/ The Supreme Court of Venezuela (TSJ) is completely non-independent and is solely an extension of the executive branch. See chapter 12

 16/ Many US critics refuse to denounce the regime of Nicolas Maduro and yet refer with horror (and rightfully so) to the US support for the Pinochet regime in Chile a few decades ago. Pinochet’s death squads were responsible for approximately 3,000 extrajudicial killings (some say as high as 9,000) over his 17 year reign. How do they reconcile that with the Maduro regime being responsible for approximately 7,000 extrajudicial killings (again, some say the real number is much higher) in just one 18 month period during his reign? See chapter 14

 17/ With over 6 million Venezuelan migrants who have fled the horrors of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism already and estimates of over 8 million by the end of the next year or two (is there an end in sight?) why all the coverage on Syrian migrants and so little on Venezuelan migrants with comparable numbers? See chapter 13

 18/ Venezuela has no free and fair elections, no free speech, no free press, and no Human Rights… PERIOD !! See chapter 16

 19/ Venezuelans wish they had a 2nd Amendment. See chapter 15

 More tomorrow….


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