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 Things are never as they seem when you’re dealing with the Chavistas. ABC News reports that shortly after the Maduro regime released two American prisoners in March, following the visit by Biden administration officials,the regime arrested two other Americans for allegedly trying to enter the country illegally and another a couple of months before.

The release of the two Americans by the regime was much celebrated while the arrests were kept quiet, following Chavismo’s pattern for keeping a healthy supply of political prisoners for bargaining chips in negotiations.

 One arrest report stated the justification for the arrest as, “…constant threats, economic blockade, and the breaking of diplomatic relations”. In a June 13th press conference, Diosdado Cabello, the 2nd most powerful man in Venezuela (some say 1st), said “They have plans against our country.”

 One of those arrested had his court hearing postponed a week ago. (Postponements can go on for months, if not years in Venezuela, often because either the prosecutor or the defendant doesn’t show up in court…even if the defendant is in custody.) The crimes of these three range from migrant smuggling and criminal association to conspiracy. One of those arrested was accompanied by a captain in the Venezuelan Navy. Hmmm…??

 The magnanimous nature of Chavismo was best described in an interview a while ago from a migrant that had fled 21st Century Bolivatian Socialism. “They give you a nice new wheelchair…after they have broken both your legs.”

 Then we have the US – DOJ (Department of Justice) telling us that two financial asset managers, one from Switzerland and one from Argentina, have been charged with money laundering in a $1.2 billion scheme involving PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company). It seems hardly a day goes by that we don’t have something about a court case, an arrest, or an extradition involving Chavismo in some kind of illegal and/or fraudulent activity (usually financial).

 And just so you know, Florida Politics reports that 53% of all Venezuelan immigrants in the US live in Florida.

 And we have Merco Press reporting that Chilean deputies (representatives) have created a committee to investigate the Venezuela/Iran owned Emtrasur Boeing 747 cargo plane (and crew) detained in Argentina for over a month now. They were not satisfied with the report from Chilean Intelligence agencies.

 Agenzia Fides reports that the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network has opened a three-week school in Brazil to provide educational tools and help formalize complaints about Human Rights violations that occur in the Amazonian territory, including Venezuela. The indigenous peoples in these areas need all the help they can get, from wherever they can get it.

 Then we have The Intercept reporting that a Venezuelan migrant woman and others allege sexual assaults occurred at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia (the state, not the country), known as “the black hole” of the immigration network.

 And we have Caracas Chronicles reporting that Maduro’s National Assembly has approved a new law, The Criminal Record and Registry Law. It will be managed by the Interior Ministry. The head of Maduro’s National Assembly, Jorge Rodriguez, says “The law is founded on respect for Human Rights, privacy, and due process.” What he didn’t say was what was in it! Is this one of those Nancy Pelosi – Obamacare kinda’ deals? You know…”We have to pass it to find out what’s in it.”??

 Then we have the same judicial nomination committee that evaluated the “new TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court) will review credentials of candidates for Ombudsman. (You know, the person that’s supposed to look out for the best interests of “the people”) This committee didn’t comply with international standards for impartiality, transparency, and branch impartiality. (At least that’s what the UN and a bunch of other organizations think)

 And we have Maduro announcing the upcoming visit of the President of Turkey. He says it will have “fundamental significance in Venezuela’s development and economic recovery”. I guess Venezuelans can look forward to more low-quality products past their expiration dates in the government subsidized CLAP food boxes.

 Then we have workers, union members, and pensioners protesting in Caracas (again) demanding elimination of the Onapre rule book, which doesn’t recognize salary scales. This is hardly surprising as the last time (and every time) Maduro did a major economic reorganization he set wage levels without consideration of tenure. New hires would be paid at the same rate as those with 20 years on the job. “Viva la Revolucion!”

 And we have Fundaredes (Human Rights group) reporting that they have documented the disappearance of 96 people in Venezuela border states in 2022, 19 of which are children and teenagers. This follows their report from 2021 on the inaction of the government regarding victims of human traffickers and prostitution rings.

 Oh, and do you remember the story on the Maduro regime’s arrest of the Bandera Roja members? (They even arrested one of the guy’s wife in lieu of arresting him) We now have 108 unions and NGOs demanding their release, referring to them as union leaders and Human Rights activists. When they were arrested it was unclear why… now we know… Chavismo doesn’t like union leaders and Human Rights activists.

 And we have Caracas Chronicles asking the question,”Are protests useful to effect democratic change in Latin America?” Well, protests did lead to reform in Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia. They didn’t in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. The article went into great detail but the bottom line is, at least for Latin America, protests can effect change in democracies. They effect basically no change in authoritarian dictatorships like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, although Nicaragua and Venezuela still insist they’re democracies…even though everyone knows they are not.

 Then we have Reuters telling us that PDVSA’s US refining arm, Citgo, is on the verge of a power shake-up.Citgo board members, currently appointed by interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, (leader of the opposition) will now be appointed by a three-member super-advisory council, due to pressure from various political parties , to make Citgo more independent. The current board has not been criticized on a professional level so this may be just another example of the constant friction within the opposition. How this will effect lawsuits seeking to take over the company remains to be seen. US executive orders currently protecting Citgo from being auctioned are set to expire in 2023.

 And speaking of lawsuits, we have Law 360 telling us that Conoco Phillips has urged a US District Court in Delaware to approve an attachment order aimed at Citgo for $48 million to position it for triggering when/if the US removes prohibitions against actions towards Citgo, put in place as support for Juan Guaido.

 More tomorrow….



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