Killing The Yanomami

 We seem to mention “lip service” every day with our tales of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Well, we have another example today. The Maduro regime is constantly telling us of it’s love for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela and how much Chavismo respects and wants to protect and preserve their heritage. The facts tell a different story.

 The piece by Human Rights Watch is titled “Yanomami Indigenous People At Risk In Venezuela”….Pretty much self-explanatory huh? Here are the details… A Yanomami (indigenous tribe) woman has been waiting 3 months to see her two sons (son and step-son) confined in a military hospital in Caracas, 500 miles away. They are witnesses to the clash with Venezuela Armed Forces over a WiFi pass code in which 4 Yanomami were killed. We told you about it at the time. In the area, the Yanomami are in charge of the antenna and the military is in charge of the internet. When they changed the WiFi pass code they didn’t want to provide the new one to the Yanomami, for reasons unknown. The Yanomami were not pleased and in the ensuing confrontation 4 Yanomani were shot and killed. (Hint : The military are the ones with the guns)

 The Attorney General opened an investigation but the attorney for the family says the investigation has stalled and no family visits or Human Rights organization visits have been allowed since April. No arrests have been made but the witnesses are still confined and their lawyer is receiving death threats for representing them.

 The incident was referenced in the latest UNHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) report and Michele Bachelet, the High Commissioner, called for an “independent, impartial, prompt, thorough, effective, credible, and transparent investigation.” However, Venezuela lacks judicial independence and impunity for Human Rights violations is common. Venezuela has an Indigenous Minister who is supposed to protect the interest of indigenous peoples. Venezuela has an Ombudsman who is supposed to protect the interest of the people in general. Where are they? Is anybody looking out for the indigenous peoples, in general, and the Yanomami in particular? The answer is no, nobody seems to care.

 Human Rights Watch has documented horrific abuses of the Yanomami including amputations, shootings, and killings. They are subjected to violence, forced labor,and sexual exploitation. The environment of their ancestral lands is being destroyed by deforestation and water pollution. (Unregulated gold mining is poisoning the rivers with mercury) Environmental group SOS Orinoco reports groups of miners working with Venezuela security forces in illicit trafficking. (We did an entire chapter on Maduro’s “Mining Arc” and the destruction it’s causing in Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole)

 Human Rights Watch says that concerned states (that should be all of them) at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva this month should call for the release of the two Yanomami witnesses and enact safeguards to prevent illegal Venezuelan gold from entering their jurisdiction. (FYI – it’s called “Blood Gold” after the well known “Blood Diamonds” of the conflict areas of Africa)

 And in a related piece we have The Guardian reporting that an indigenous man, Trujillo Arana, who led the fight against illegal mining in southern Amazonas state (not part of Maduro’s “Mining Arc”) has been shot and killed. The Ministry of Communication as well as the Prosecutors Office did not respond to requests for comment. (Nothing shows your love and respect for indigenous peoples like killing them)

 And we have Law 360 telling us that a judge has ruled insurers can’t block Venezuela’s $448 million suit against British insurers over the Venezuela Coast Guard vessel that sank. It will go to arbitration. Remember that one? The Venezuela Coast Guard wanted to board a vessel and when it refused to comply they attempted to ram it and sank themselves in the process.

 And in case you were wondering, Digital Journal reports that Venezuela opposition parties were not invited to talks between the Maduro regime and the US delegation in Caracas, not that we expected them to be.

 And Caracas Chronicles tells us that Transparencia Venezuela reports drugs, oil and gold trafficking, and other illegal activities in ports and customs generates over $9.4 billion for criminal organizations protected by corrupt regime officials. Gold extraction generated $2.3 billion but only 25% was transferred to the state. Illegal activities accounted for 21% of Venezuela’s GDP in 2021.

 Then we have the price of a barrel of Venezuelan oil coming in at $88 a barrel in May while the spot price of oil was at $118. You can see how much they have to discount their extra-heavy crude.

 We also have the National Press Guild telling us that limited access to information is their main obstacle. Meanwhile we have Redes Ayuda telling us there were 65 violations  and restrictions of freedom of expression in 2021 including threats of cyber attacks, arbitrary detentions, and arrests. (the number seems kinda’ low to me) And, Espacio Publico tells us that 45 journalists have been attacked so far in 2022. And our boy, Diosdado Cabello, tells us that “Saying that there are Human Rights violations when it comes to freedom of speech in Venezuela is ridiculous.”

 Then we have the Secretary General of Venezuela opposition’s Unitary Platform officially announcing primaries will be held in 2023 to elect a candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

 And we have Caracas Chronicles telling us that after a year and a half a Zulia court granted activists from NGO Azul Positivo their freedom. As usual, allegations of torture while detained have been widespread and should be investigated…also, as usual, they probably won’t be. They also tell us that 6 women have died in the maternity ward of a hospital in Guatire for alleged malpractice and negligence in the last two months.(More of that “World Class” healthcare the Chavistas are always talking about)

 Then we have Gov.UK telling us that the UK Permanent Representative to the UN expressed concern over Venezuela’s (Maduro’s) “Law on International Cooperation”, which gives the government more control over NGO funding and activities. The slight improvement of the economy hasn’t translated into better living conditions for most Venezuelans (the poverty rate remains at 95%). He urges Venezuela (Maduro) to allow unhindered distribution of humanitarian assistance…Good luck with that. Remember, for years Maduro denied there was a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and wouldn’t allow NGos to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela saying it was an affront to the dignity of the Venezuelan people as well as a threat to Venezuela’s sovereignty. (Nothing says “dignity” like digging for food out of the back of a garbage truck) Then in a gesture supposedly demonstrating Chavismo’s magnanimous nature, NGOs were allowed to enter Venezuela on a limited basis. Now, with this new law they demonstrate their true nature. The don’t like anything they don’t control even if it’s for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.

 And we have Rest of World reporting that Reserve, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange platform, launched in 2017, has helped 600,000 Venezuelans survive Venezuela’s over 4 year bout of hyperinflation (second longest on record) and other economic disasters of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. The unofficial community, “Reserve Rangers”, is urging Reserve to launch virtual and physical cards for transactions which most Venezuelans lack.

 And from Algemeiner we have the story that the Emtrasur flight, detained in Argentina for a month now, and the subsequent investigation(s) reveal Iran’s growing influence in Latin America, and not just in Venezuela but in Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, and Chile as well.

 Then we have OCCRP coming out with their latest corruption index for Latin America. Venezuela and Bolivia rank worst at tackling corruption. Uruguay was best along with Costa Rica and Chile.

 And we have Merco Press telling us that Argentine President Fernandez says that the Human Rights situation has improved in Venezuela. The head of Human Rights Watch says that the statement from Fernandez stems from “ignorance or selectivity” and that her stance is based on the UNHCHR report.

 Oh, and the US-DOJ reports that 3 Venezuelans pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine in a case involving 11 defendants. We’ve been following this one for a while. I think that’s 9 guilty pleas so far.

 More tomorrow….

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