Cyber Farming,Really?

 OK, so CNA had this headline,”Cyber Farming To Boost Income In Venezuela”. I always thought of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as a fringe kinda’ thing. I mean come on …a digital creation or re-creation of pretty much anything (or in one case nothing) that can be sold in the digital world and converted into cryptocurrency…? Is this really “a thing”?

 I was surprised to learn that it’s more common than I thought,especially in depressed regions (economies) of the world, like Venezuela, where people need to find inventive ways to supplement their income ( Venezuela minimum wage is less than $24/month).

 Enter ‘Cyber Farming’, growing digital plants, fruits, vegetables, trees, whatever via gaming platforms which earn credits that can be converted into cryptocurrency. The games require an initial investment, some are about $1,000, and perhaps a computer upgrade. For those that can’t come up with the initial investment they can contract out their services for $400 – $500 per month. Again, with the minimum wage at under $24 a month, that’s a nice chunk of change.

 Somebody’s making money somewhere (like the guy with dozens of subcontractors on the payroll). Since I thought cryptocurrency was “kinda’ fringe”, until I made money off of Bitcoin, maybe this is worth checking out…?

 Then we have the T&T Guardian with a few pieces that involve Venezuelans, “Police Free Venezuelan Girls From Prostitution Ring”, “Venezuelan Woman Gunned Down In Curepe”, “Venezuelan National Held With Gun And Ammo”. These stories may not be huge but there are similar stories involving crime, mistreatment of Venezuelan migrants, and Venezuelans dying trying to reach Trinidad & Tobago all the time.

 I think these stories tell us something about the Venezuela migrant crisis. Besides it’s close proximity to Venezuela, with all the problems facing Venezuela migrants in Trinidad & Tobago, why do Venezuelans continue to flee there? Maybe it’s because as the crisis goes on (and on and on) there are fewer options open to Venezuelan migrants. Many countries that were open to Venezuelan in the early days of the migration (before 6.4 million people fled the ravages of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism) now have restrictions on Venezuelans. Then again, maybe they’re just so desperate they’ll go anywhere.

 Then we have Merco Press telling us that, prompted by the recent pipeline fire, which was predictably blamed on “terrorists backed by US imperialists”, Diosdado Cabello (Venezuela’s 2nd most powerful man, some say the most powerful) recalled that “We have captured, for example, in the refineries, at least two people of US nationality with a plan, a map of the refineries”. He failed to mention who these people are…you know, like their names.

 And we have Nasdaq reporting that Venezuela is expected to receive 4 million barrels of Iranian heavy crude by the end of the month. Along with the 2 million barrels a month of condensate (required to mix with Venezuelan heavy crude to make it exportable) they receive from Iran, the move is supposed to help PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) recover exportable crude. Venezuela is using Iranian oil for refining gasoline and exporting it’s lighter weight crude after blending with the condensate from Iran. It seems like, more and more, Venezuela isn’t really in the oil business (at least not as a major producer) except as a conduit for Iran.

 Then we have La Prensa Latina reporting that Venezuela has the highest rate of teen pregnancy, 96 out of every 1,000 females ages 15-19 in Latin America. There is a 90% gap between supply and demand of free contraception and the price of available contraceptives is too high for most Venezuelans (95% poverty rate and 76% extreme poverty). Another concern is Venezuela’s high maternal mortality rate. Year in and year out, under the Maduro regime, Venezuela is one of the three worst countries in South America for maternal mortality.

 And we have TVP World telling us that Diosdado Cabello says Venezuela has oil, not just for Spain, but for all of the EU…that is if they pay the market price and pay in advance (PDVSA’s new policy after getting stiffed on a couple of shipments). Neither issue came up with the prior Repsol (Spain) shipment as it was an oil for debt deal, as was the Eni (Italy) shipment. Maybe they’re just looking for actual paying customers? (Note: Cuba and China, who get the bulk of Venezuela’s exports, don’t pay for oil)

 Then we have BA Times telling us that the detention of the Venezuela/Iran Boeing 747 plane and crew has many people asking questions this week on the 28th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires by Iranian terrorists, which killed 85 people.

 Why has nobody been brought to trial in 28 years despite Interpol issuing “Red Notices” on 8 individuals and yearly pleas by Argentina at the UN (United Nations) that Tehran send the accused for trial by an Argentine court?

 Why was suspect, Mohsen Rezainat present in Nicaragua President, Daniel Ortega’s latest inauguration while Argentina’s Ambassador to Nicaragua remained mum?

 What was the origin of the bullet to the brain that that killed the Special Prosecutor investigating the case?

 Why have the proceedings in the case concluded with only minor punishments for judicial and government officials, declared guilty of covering up the attack, without determining the reasons for the cover-up nor diverting the investigation?

 We may never have answers to these questions but maybe the investigation into the Venezuela/Iran flight and crew, detained and under investigation for over a month now, will give us more clarity.

 And Mehr News tells us that the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran summoned the Argentina charge d’affaires  to protest the continued detention of the 5 Iranian crew members (suspected ties to Quds Force, the operations arm of the Iran Revolutionary Guard) and demand they be allowed to depart the country.

 That will do it for this week. We’ll be back Monday with more tales of woe delivered by 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!




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