Since the arrival of the pandemic all the news has been about the Covid-19 (and variants) vaccines. Nicolas Maduro went as far as to assure us that Chavismo had vaccinated over 100% of the population. (Uhh, Nico, do you know what that means?) While we were focused on Covid-19 perhaps we should have also been paying attention to some of those other diseases?

 We have known for some time that previously eradicated diseases have made a comeback in Venezuela under the watchful eye (or not) of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Daily Mail reports that Venezuela’s alarmingly low vaccine rate is among the worst in the world. Many children lack vaccination against polio, measles, and tuberculosis and vaccinations against rotavirus and pneumococcal disease have hardly been given at all for several years. There has been a resurgence of outbreaks of measles and diphtheria which, as recently as 2016, basically didn’t exist in Venezuela.

 The global vaccination rate (both doses) for measles is 70%. In Venezuela it’s 30%. For rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines Colombia’s rate is about 88% and Brazil’s rate is about 77%. Venezuela’s rate is ZERO!

 The Maduro regime is prohibited from buying vaccines through the PAHO (Pan-American Health Organization) because they owe them $11 million. Without the free or low-cost government-subsidized vaccines Venezuelans must pay $400 at a private clinic (remember, the minimum wage is under $24/ month) or pay about $100 for bus fare to Colombia and receive free shots at a humanitarian aid site. For many Venezuelans the choice is to get one child vaccinated or try to feed their other children. Note: US sanctions do not prohibit healthcare related transactions so the Chavistas are not being prevented from buying the vaccines. It’s also worth noting that disease outbreaks are exacerbated by the lack of potable water in many areas, which includes the cities, not just remote areas. So…would you consider Nicolas Maduro an anti-vaxxer?

 Moving on, we have Newizv telling us that Iran and Venezuela will be hurt by competition with Russia for their oil. They must discount their oil even more than they already have to keep their Asian customers who can now buy cheap Russian oil.

 To put it in perspective, Brent crude is trading at approximately $100/ barrel while Venezuelan Merey crude is at about $45/ barrel.

 Another negative for Venezuela is Russia used to sell oil to Asian buyers on behalf of PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company). That will no longer happen. In addition, any customers lost by Iran and Venezuela will be hard to replace due to sanctions. It’s even more difficult for Venezuela as most of their crude is so heavy it can only be refined at refineries upgraded to do so, which most aren’t.

 And we have NL Times reporting that a court has ruled Curacao is illegally holding Venezuelan migrants in harsh conditions. They spend 18 hours a day in cramped, dark cells. The judge, after a visit to their location, ordered their immediate release.

 Then we have reporting that Bitbase, a Spanish cryptocurrency exchange and cryptocurrency ATM operator, is looking to expand to Venezuela after starting operations in Paraguay in January of this year. No word on how Maduto’s new foreign currency/ cryptocurrency tax might affect their plans.

 And we have Reuters telling us that car fires have almost doubled this year in Venezuela due to people being unable to afford maintenance. Most of these are related to vehicle’s fuel systems which people are repairing/ maintaining themselves rather than having the work done by mechanics (you know, people that actually know what they’re doing).

 Then we have T&T Guardian reporting that a Venezuelan woman, 21 years of age, has been denied bail, accused of gang activity and human trafficking. She is one of five arrested in connection with an alleged human trafficking and child prostitution ring in Trinidad.

 And we have Law 360 reporting that OFAC (the sanctions enforcement guys) fined American Express (and they agreed to pay) $430,500 for missing red flags regarding the account of a Venezuelan “drug kingpin”.

 How about a little something positive? UN News tells us that the UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) and UN – IOM (United Nations Migration Agency) are supporting more that 600 gardens growing fruits and vegetables for indigenous communities in Venezuela. They are primarily worked by unemployed women and teens at risk of being recruited by gangs.

 Also on a positive note we have CGTN telling us that NGO Bibliomulas is bringing books to remote communities in Merida, Venezuela (Andes mountain region) to promote children learning to read and write. After reading and an interactive theatrical session the kids get a mule ride. How cool is that!

 Now, back to our standard Venezuela fare, which is bad news. is reporting on something we’ve touched on before. Over 1,200 hectares (about 3,000 acres) of pristine rain forest have been destroyed in southern Bolivar state within Maduro’s “Mining Arc” (We covered this abomination in our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment, “El Dorado”) due to unregulated mining operations and other illegal activities. In addition to the environmental damage caused by the mining operations, the drug trafficking and smuggling operations clear illegal runways for their aircraft contributing to deforestation.

 The Magna Carta of Venezuela calls for the protection of the natural reserves of southern Venezuela so the designation of this area as a “strategic development zone” (ie; the “Mining Arc”) was a violation from the beginning. Despite being billed as a mechanism to responsibly manage the resources and environment of the region, as we’ve detailed before, this area is the “Wild West”. FARC, ELN, “unions” (gangs controlled from Venezuela prisons), traffickers, and smugglers all operate freely with consent (and sometimes cooperation) of Venezuela’s armed forces and institutions of the Venezuela state.

 And we have Nasdaq telling us that Venezuela’s Oil Minister is denouncing a “new attack” on the gas system as firefighters attempted to put out a fire on a natural gas pipeline in the eastern state of Monagas. He attributed the fire to unidentified terrorist groups (as always) but these things always turn out to be due to lack of routine maintenance. Independent sources say the fire and lack of gas affected operations at a nearby petrochemical plant. (As if they didn’t already have enough to deal with, plagued by constant blackouts)

 Then we have Bernama telling us that the Venezuela Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs- Asia, Middle East, and Oceania (They really should do something about that title) says Venezuela is interested in joining TAC – Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. It’s a group of primarily Asian countries (not including Japan or South Korea) and Cuba, Colombia, and Brazil. It embodies universal principles of peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation. Sounds perfect for future “historic, strategic agreements”.

 And we have IPP Media telling us that Venezuela geopolitical analyst, Maria Fernanda Barreto, says the US is using NATO as it’s imperialist army to defend it’s one-polar model. I would probably be more interested if she would explain the meaning of “one-polar”. (And while she’s at it maybe she can tell me what Maduro’s “pluri-polar world” means)

 More tomorrow….



©Copyright 2021 all right reserved.