The Plot Thickens
When we last left you we thought that story about the Venezuela-owned plane detained in Argentina might turn out to be nothing. Well, not so fast…the plot thickens. Over the weekend we had four more stories hit the news feed.
The National News reported that the Venezuela-owned plane (and it’s crew) currently detained in Argentina, reportedly loaded automotive parts in Mexico, then stopped in Venezuela, then on to Argentina, and then attempted to travel to Uruguay where it’s use of Uruguayan air space was denied and it ultimately landed in Argentina, traveling with it’s transponder turned off (a favorite tactic used by Venezuelan and Iranian oil tankers, under US sanctions). Suspicions about the plane and crew originally arose from Paraguay last month and they alerted regional intelligence agencies. One of the reasons the plane and crew were detained in Argentina was a lack of clarity regarding the plane’s origins.
Then we have Merco Press reporting the US Embassy in Buenos Aires in closely watching the investigation into the Venezuela-owned Boeing 747 and it’s crew (including 5 Iranians) regarding possible links to Quds Force, a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards of Iran. ( Remember, for years US intelligence has ranked the Iran regime as the number one state-sponsor of terror)
Then we have Merco Press reporting on more fallout from the plane detention situation in Argentina. Remember that Conviasa (Venezuela government-owned airline) flight that was bound for Buenos Aires and then diverted to Bolivia on orders from Nicolas Maduro? It has since returned to Caracas, avoiding Buenos Aires, on fears that it might be detained like the plane currently being held in Argentina. Well, the decision to avoid Argentina has stranded hundreds of Venezuelan passengers at the Buenos Aires International Airport and no one has told them how they’ll be traveling.
Then we have BA Times with the headline “Mystery over Iranians on grounded Venezuela plane deepens”. We already know that the Venezuela-owned Boeing 747 cargo flight was carrying 19 crew members, an unusually large crew for a supposedly routine flight, and 5 crew members are Iranian, one of which is allegedly tied to Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards. We also already know that Argentina’s Security Minister was quick to say that the man in question regarding alleged ties to Quds Force, Ghasemi Abbas, was not tied to Quds Force, he just had the same name.
Well, upon further investigation it was revealed through open source intelligence, including Iranian journalistic articles with photographs, that Abbas was indeed tied to Quds Force despite denials by the Argentina Security Minister and Argentina’s recently appointed spy chief. Abbas was also director of a cargo airline sanctioned by the US and accused of transporting weapons and military equipment to Syria. (Now might be a good time to remind you that there may be some people in Argentina that remember Iran, through it’s proxy Hezbollah, was responsible for two terror attacks in Argentina in the nineties)
It is also curious that after it became known that the plane was in Paraguay in May, the two officials that authorized the landing of the plane were dismissed and two anti-drug agents are under investigation. Iran’s Foreign Minister has slammed the entire affair as propaganda. We would expect nothing less. We’ll keep you posted.
And on the deepening of ties front we have Portugal Resident reporting that Portugal’s Ambassador in Caracas says Portugal wants to deepen bilateral ties with Venezuela. Flights between Lisbon and Caracas will resume next week. We still have no word on if Portugal’s courts will order the release of $1.56 billion frozen in accounts with Novo Banco.
Then we have NTD reporting that Mexico is doling out visas to illegal immigrants (many of them Venezuelan) to avoid media attention regarding the big migrant caravan headed north, through Mexico, to the US southern border.
And Merco Press is reporting that Venezuela oil production dropped 5% in May from April. The production number of 735,000 bpd (barrels per day) is down 40,000 bpd from April. They also report that the first quarter average production is down 7% from the fourth quarter of 2021. Remember, we told you that most reliable oil analysts said Venezuela was already at almost peak capacity of about 850,000 bpd given the totally degraded condition of Venezuela’s oil infrastructure. Does anybody out there, except maybe the inept Biden administration, really believe that the Chavistas, equally inept, can achieve Maduro’s optimistic forecast of producing 2 million bpd by the end of the year?
Then we have Just The News telling us that Donald Trump says Biden’s America is “Venezuela on steroids”. All I can say is “Hear! Hear!” FYI, Freedom House gave Venezuela a 1 out of 40 score for Political Rights and a 13 out of 60 score for civil liberties making the socialist country on of the most repressive on earth.
And we have Gov.UK advising against all but essential travel to Venezuela (and against all travel to some parts). This is unchanged from all it’s recent advisories.
Then we have Law 360 reporting that a judge ordered a Greek bank to pay insurance company, Lloyds, $1 million in an insurance law suit over a tanker detained in Venezuela for suspected smuggling. The only reason for paying attention to this is the $71 million suit was dismissed.
And on a lighter (literally) note we have this from Mental Floss. Since 2016 the Catatumbo zone of Lake Maracaibo has been the world’s top lightning hot spot with an average of 232 lightning flashes per square kilometer per year…listed in the Guiness World Records.
Oh, and in case anyone’s still paying attention to Nicolas Maduro’s world tour, Reuters tells us that Maduro says Venezuela and Quatar pledge to move forward on direct flights between Doha and Caracas. So, I guess if you don’t want to hit that tourist hot spot of Tehran, or maybe Moscow, you’ll be able to go to Doha. Yee haa!
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