Between The Raindrops

 In a piece from The Hill they contend that the Biden administration is open to letting Maduro and the corrupt Chavistas “walk between the raindrops”, a term that refers to allowing nefarious individuals (or countries) to escape consequences of their actions, if the price is right.

 The Biden administration already lifted sanctions on individuals, including Maduro’s wife and her nephew, and is allowing oil shipments from Venezuela to Europe, in return for basically nothing. Two American political prisoners were released but three more were arrested so,net-net, the Maduro regime gained one political prisoner through negotiations and all it had to do was agree to “talks” with the Venezuelan opposition.

 And it’s not like previous administrations have been overly tough on corrupt Chavistas. In 2015 a Venezuelan Chavista, Enrique Rincon, was arrested and charged with 13 counts of bribery, carrying a potential sentence of 100 years. He was allowed to plead guilty to three of the charges and received a 13 year sentence. The Houston, Texas resident still has his $5.8 million estate, Ferrari, Lamborghini, private jet, and houses in Aruba and Spain…but it gets better. He is out on $5 million bail and has had his official sentencing hearing postponed 20 times, most recently until August, 2022. Sounds like “walking between the raindrops” to me.

 Then we have Mizzima telling us that Maduro says his new ZEEs, special economic zones, with tax,customs, and other incentives, is based on a Chinese model. Hmm… is he really going to listen to them this time? In the past he has disregarded every piece of advice regarding economic decisions they have offered. (It’s not just them. The Russians gave him a four-point plan to help him with his economic woes and he didn’t employ any of their solutions.)

 As we previously detailed, the ideas are promising.The problem is a lack of dependable guarantees that Maduro won’t change his mind, which he can, and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as he has in the past.

 And we have WOLA reporting that US- Customs and Border Protection encounters with migrants at the southern border with Mexico were down in June from May but some groups showed an increase.Venezuelan migrants, despite Mexico now requiring visas for Venezuelans, increased the most at 13,194, up from 5,089 in May. Visa requirements for Venezuelans adopted by Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama were replicated by Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica this year. As we’ve told you before, there are fewer and fewer options for Venezuelans fleeing 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism and the nightmare of the regime of Nicolas Maduro.

 And in a related piece from the Houston Chronicle we have this from the Office of Customs and Border Protection…For fiscal year 2021 there were 48,678 Venezuelan migrant encounters at the US border with Mexico, up from 2,787 encounters in fiscal year 2020. So far in fiscal year 2022, which ends September 30th, there have already been 97,696 encounters with Venezuelan migrants. The situation with Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro regime ain’t going away any time soon. The crisis at our southern border ain’t going way either.

 The we have this from Standard Media…Remember the story about the three Smartmatic (election technology company) employees arrested , then released, after arriving in Kenya from Venezuela? Well, it seems the Azimio Party wants a thorough probe into all those involved alleging efforts to rig the upcoming elections. Accusations and counter-accusations are flying all over the place. Is it just me or does it seem like when Venezuelans (and Iranians) go just about anywhere there is always plenty of mystery surrounding their purpose? (Except for the migrants, of course. Their purpose is clear)

 And we have The National Interest with another fantasy-land article on CARICOM (Caribbean Island Nation organization) leaders collectively calling on the US to lift Venezuela sanctions so Maduro can restart Petro Caribe (The program started by Chavez offering oil at discount prices and special financing, as well as support for local projects and programs, in return for political support). Most of these nations have severe problems with oil supplies as well as the CARICOM region having the highest debt to GDP ratio in the world.

 As we have discussed before, Petro Caribe existed in a time when oil prices were at record highs, PDVSA (Venezuela government- owned oil company) was producing a few million bpd (barrels per day) of oil (now it’s about 750,000 bpd), and they were borrowing $60 billion from China. In short, there was plenty of oil and plenty of money. That is no longer the case. Maduro can forgive a little debt  (he recently forgave all of Saint Vincent’s debt) but after that he’s got nothing to offer them.

 The US needs to engage the CARICOM nations both to help them and to de-bunk the myth propagated by Maduro that the regime will have any oil for them with, or without sanctions. (After shipping oil to China and Cuba and repaying Russia for oil for arms deals, there isn’t much oil to spare) The problem is the Biden administration is just as gullible as CARICOM.

 Also on the oil front we have g Captain telling us that the “Dark Tanker” market (tankers doing ship to ship transfers with their transponders turned off) is getting very competitive with Russia, Iran, and Venezuela all vying for tankers.

 And then there’s this…JNS tells us that Venezuelan-born, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as “Carlos The Jackal”, claims he was the first foreigner to join the Palestinian struggle. By his own confession, he kidnapped and murdered his first victim when he was 15 years old and is responsible for over 1,500 deaths.

 More tomorrow….

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