Lining Up

 It seems like every few days we have somebody else lining up to get a piece of US refining company CITGO, owned by PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company). Today we have Law 360 reporting that shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries asked a Delaware federal judge to approve it’s writ of attachment seeking PDVSA’s CITGO shares as compensation for the company’s $138 million arbitration award since the 3rd Circuit Court denied Venezuela’s appeal without explanation.

 As days go by the list of companies and bond holders lining up gets longer and longer and Venezuela and PDVSA are about out of appeals. When the current protection (a concession to Venezuela’s interim government led by Juan Guaido) for CITGO expires (in about another year) it will be a mad dash by creditors to get whatever they can out of CITGO as it’s about the last remaining asset of PDVSA or the Venezuela government that’s worth anything (the Chavistas have stolen or destroyed everything else), although they do have between $4 billion – $5 billion in gold reserves, down from over $30 billion when Hugo Chavez repatriated Venezuela’s gold to Caracas from vaults around the world to “protect it for the people”).

 And in what could be good news we have La Prensa Latina reporting that the UN-OCHA (United Nations – Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs) has developed a  $795 million response plan to aid an estimated 5.2 million Venezuelans with urgent needs. Martin Griffiths, top OCHA official, met with Maduro, several Ministers, opposition leaders, and local and foreign NGO representatives. Despite all the positive talk after these meetings, if things go as they have in the past, the UN, opposition, and NGOs will do what they can (meaning whatever the Maduro regime will allow) and the Maduro regime will do almost nothing. Meanwhile, a couple of miles away, retirees protested delayed and insufficient pensions and the conditions in which they’re trying to survive. Retired teacher, Nellys Parra, said “I’ve seen many families, many professionals, who are dying of hunger.”

 Then we have CGTN telling us that Aymara Gerdel, director of China – Venezuela Relations Center, says Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “rude interference into Chaina’s internal affairs and US hegemony in the world is not welcomed.” I’m sure that sentiment is echoed by all of Nicolas Maduro’s friends…you know, the worst humanity has to offer.

 And we have CPB with an article that was supposedly about the challenges facing the Communist Party of Venezuela. All I got out of it, other than the usual communist/ socialist drivel was they now refer to themselves as “internationalists”. Where they get that and what it means, even after reading the article, I have no idea.

 Then we have Real Clear World with an article about Vladimir Putin using world wide famine as leverage in his war (not “special military operation”) with Ukraine. it was interesting that they referenced the hunger and starvation in Venezuela, which has been going on since 2014. There has been no war in Venezuela nor any natural disaster. The suffering of the Venezuelan people is due to 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism…Period! As we like to say here, it’s a man-made disaster…a Chavista- made disaster.

 And we have SANA telling us that Venezuela’s Foreign Minister reiterated Venezuela’s support of Syria in it’s “fight against terrorism”. Funny…I thought it was a civil war being waged against the oppressive Assad regime (another of Maduro’s buddies).

 Then we have Rio Times with a piece about Russia’s support for authoritarian regimes in Latin America but I found it noteworthy for stating something we’ve covered many times (it’s not about Russia). From 2007 – 2016 the Chinese loaned Chavismo $62.2 billion. Remember, from 2007 -2014 Venezuela was the beneficiary of record high oil prices so they didn’t need the money to address critical issues. The loans just allowed the corrupt Chavistas to steal more.

 And we have BNN Bloomberg with an article proving hat we have definitely entered “The Upside Down”. In Venezuela, Commerce Minister, Dheliz Alvarez, says they’re meeting with food producers to discuss elements impacting the rise in production costs and working to disentangle them. The talks centered on 27 basic products including milk and meat.Two weeks ago she met with Conindustria, Venezuela’s largest private industry association. In the past the Maduro regime has relied on price caps and threats of jail time (which led to shortages and hyperinflation). Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks? Contrast this with US President, Joe Biden, blaming oil companies for high oil prices, meat companies for high meat prices, etc. At least he hasn’t used price controls…yet.

 Then we have another BNN Bloomberg piece telling us that Venezuela is studying whether it could revive an abandoned pipeline in western Venezuela to export natural gas to Colombia. The pipeline traverses 139 miles connecting Venezuela gas fields with northeast Colombia but has been idle since 2015. Besides sitting on top of the world’s largest proven oil reserves (don’t get me started on why they can’t produce oil), Venezuela has the 8th largest reserves of natural gas. It’s possible Colombia could help with repairing and restarting the pipeline which would be needed as the Chavistas have shown little capacity to do anything on their own (and their joint ventures haven’t really fared any better since Venezuela law requires Venezuela to have a controlling interest in all joint ventures). Due to sanctions against PDVSA it’s likely the US would need to green light any deal.

 And we have MTV (no, not that one) telling us that the Lebanon Minister of Information met with the Venezuela Ambassador to Lebanon to discuss bilateral relations and the possibility of Lebanon TV broadcasts in Latin America. I’m sure the people of Venezuela can’t wait for that riveting Lebanese programming.

 Then we have the US- DOJ (United States – Department Of Justice) telling us that two Colombian nationals have been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine into Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic from Venezuela (multi-ton shipments). Venezuela became a major distribution hub (and now they’re getting into production) for cocaine when Hugo Chavez said Venezuela would no longer cooperate with the US – DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), they would handle drug enforcement efforts themselves. Exactly what the drug traffickers wanted to hear.

 More tomorrow….

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