Changed Forever?

 We’ll get to our Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a minute but first…We’ve covered the impact of Maduro’s “Mining Arc” quite a bit. Inter Press News had a piece titled “Mining Destroys The Lives Of Indigenous People In Venezuela.” Mining, violence,habitat destruction, death from disease, and forced migration make up a context which indigenous people are calling “silent genocide.”

 At the last census there were about 720,000 indigenous people in Venezuela. With their habitat being destroyed by Maduro’s “Mining Arc” most have had to abandon traditional hunting,fishing and farming to participate in mining where they are forced into the equivalent of modern day slavery or migrate. The Maduro regime ignores all the constitutional protections for indigenous peoples and their ancestral lands and only pays lip service to the problem while the international community stays, more or less, silent. As the world stands by and watches (or looks away) the lives of the indigenous people of Venezuela are being changed, possibly forever.

 Then we have Reuters reporting Spain’s High Court announced it has extradited the former Venezuela National Treasurer, member of Hugo Chavez’s inner circle, and also his nurse, Claudia Diaz, to the US on charges of money laundering and belonging to a criminal group. Is there any place in the world that has produced so many people responsible for money laundering as Maduro’s Venezuela? This may be an indication that I could be right in thinking that if we ever find out exactly how much money the Chavista’s have stolen it may go down as the largest looting of a country’s assets in history.

 Then we have Maria Corina Machado, one of my personal favorites, saying that with over 90% of Venezuelans living in poverty and misery and no rule of law, the ‘recovery’ of Venezuela is a fantasy. She has always stayed true to her convictions. She believes that Venezuela can only recover it’s economy and democracy with Maduro gone.

 And we have Henrique Capriles, much maligned former opposition leader, saying that the most important thing is not elections in Venezuela but economic and social recovery. (Could the two be inextricably linked?) He asks the EU and US to open channels of communication and insists there isn’t a blockade and sanctions are not to blame for deterioration in Venezuela.

 Meanwhile, we have Juan Guaido, opposition leader and interim President, insisting that Venezuelans need a date and calendar for free and fair elections and maintains elections are an answer to the crisis.

 Then we have the Minister for University Education (former head of CNE, the electoral council) assuring us that payroll is being paid…no problem. Then why all the protests?

 And we have Plan International saying that 89% of Venezuelan women in Peru and 72% in Ecuador have experienced some kind of gender violence.

 And Sumate tells the EU one of the most important tasks of the CNE is updating the voter registry of Venezuelans both in country and abroad. I don’t really see this happening as it doesn’t benefit the Chavistas.

 Then we have 18 representatives of the Progressive Caucus of the US House of Representatives sending a letter to President Joe Biden requesting sanctions relief for Venezuela since the sanctions “worsen the humanitarian crisis.” We’ve been down this road before. The suffering of the Venezuelan people predates sanctions and to believe sanctions relief will ease the plight of the Venezuelan people you have to believe that the Maduro regime would use additional revenue to help them. They have given us no indication they are willing to do so and appear to have complete disdain for the general population.

 And we have CGTN reporting that the Russian invasion (they say ‘conflict’) of Ukraine is causing an increase in food and fertilizer prices in Latin America and the impact is worst in countries already suffering from food insecurity, like Venezuela. (It’s so bad in Venezuela they may not notice)

 Then we have the T&T Guardian saying Venezuelan migrants at the heliport detention facility allege abuse of female detainees.

 And Middle East Monitor reports investments have not been made in Venezuelan refineries since 2014. Maybe that’s why the Chavistas announced a contract with the Iranians to repair the El Palito refinery?

 And in a widely reported story, Morningstar tells us that former Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, says Donald Trump considered killing Nicolas Maduro. Does anyone find this surprising. It’s one of those “everybody thinks it but you can’t say it” kinda’ deals.

 Then we have IPS News reporting that the new government in Chile is creating a special interministerial (is that a word?) group for solutions to the influx of migrants, especially Venezuelans. The official number of Venezuelans in Chile stands at 448,138 and doesn’t include the undocumented.

 And in other migrant news we have the T&T Guardian reporting that attorneys for, Darielvis Sarabia, whose one year-old baby was killed by the T&T Coast Guard (shot in the head), believes evidence points to a cover-up. There is a direct statement from the Coast Guard that they have not done any investigating. This happened in February.

 Oh, and in the “Who knew?” category, we have RTHK reporting that Hong Kong will accept Venezuela vaccination records, along with three other countries.

 Now let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole”….

 So what is 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism today? Functionally it is a bloated, inefficient, corrupt bureaucratic nightmare, overburdened throughout with people in their positions due to ideology rather than ability. Bit by bit all the rights of the people have been stripped away until now they live under an authoritarian dictatorship that bears no resemblance to a democratic form of government. Much like the Cuban government, it’s sole purpose, as it has been from the beginning, is self-perpetuation and serves only itself and not the people it claims it is there to serve. It is a kleptocratic, narco-mafia state that is replete in every area with criminals and thugs who all richly deserve to be in jail.

 It is a far cry from how 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism was supposed to be and how it was represented both to it’s people and the world. It was the new model of government that really could deliver everything to everyone including total equality and freedom from oppressors, the oligarchs, the elitists.It was embraced and endorse by people and governments all over the world. As the people of Venezuela would learn over the two decades of Chavismo, what we saw in the quote from “The International” was exactly how things would unfold. They were told what they wanted to hear.When it became clear that wasn’t going to work they were told what they wanted to believe. When it became clear that wasn’t going to work they were told everything else. When it became clear none of this was going to work they finally learned the truth…and, unfortunately for them it was too late for them to do anything about it!

 Venezuela is a manifestation of what happens when we forget things we all used to accept as fundamental truths. You know, all those things you hated to hear growing up then later found them all to be true. Things like “there is no free lunch”, “if something seems too good to be true it probably is”, “don’t believe everything you hear”, and so on. When they say “the old rules don’t apply”, they do. If you’re thinking “That could never happen here”, think again. You would be well served to remember that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results and more importantly DON”T DRINK THE KOOL-AID!

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back with more fun and games Monday. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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