Teach Your Children...

 We’ve known for a while that teachers in Venezuela have been protesting (along with everyone else) and have mentioned it various times. Now we have some details. Public school teachers in Venezuela receive a vacation bonus every summer. This year many expected $100, some as much as $200 depending on years of service, advanced degrees, etc. It doesn’t seem like much to us here in the US but remember, the minimum wage is under $22 a month.

 The government, which is strapped for cash, paid only a fraction of the bonuses. In response to the protests and the threatened strike the government has promised the bonuses will be paid in full soon. (We all know the value of Chavista promises) The National Budget Office calculated the bonuses based on the 2021 minimum wage, which was $1.52 a month, and not the current minimum wage of $30 a month (It’s actually under $22 a month but the government claims $30). Then, to add insult to injury, the government only paid out 25% of the already reduced amount and didn’t set up a date to pay the balance.

 Besides the bonus situation, teachers have also been protesting their salaries, which average about $50 a month. That doesn’t go very far when the basic food basket for a month is at $392!

 There are also widespread complaints about working conditions, and not just the usual lack of water and electricity. Many report mold, pests (rats), and mosquito-attracting standing water. (I know it sounds crazy that they don’t have enough fresh water and yet standing water is a problem)

 For teachers of the older students things like physics, chemistry, and biology labs are long gone as are the computers and much of the copper wiring. (Remember our analogy about the meth addicts tearing the copper wiring out of the wall?)

 According to the Venezuela Federation of Teachers 50% of teachers have left the classroom since 2017. They are among the 6.4 million migrants that have fled 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Those that remain behind work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive…or they starve.

 Then we have Reuters reporting that a group of ex-TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court) judges, known as “The TSJ In Exile”, have hired a US and UK based law firm to assist the caretaker government  of interim President Juan Guaido in it’s engagement with the US on sanctions policies. It’s another good example of the difference between Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro. Maduro approaches the US with bluster-filled demands dripping with ’50s- style Cuban rhetoric… the “my way or the highway” approach, while Guaido negotiates.

 And Splash 247 reports that Nicolas Maduro has promised Venezuela will assist Cuba in rebuilding it’s largest port for crude oil and fuel imports, which was heavily damaged by a five-day fire. I know Nico wants to show his solidarity with his socialist/ Marxist brothers but the Chavistas can’t even rebuild their own oil infrastructure (which, by the way, they destroyed).

 Then we have Crypto Daily telling us that the new government of Colombia’s leftist (Marxist) President, Gustavo Petro, announced it’s plans for a digital currency utilizing blockchain technology in partnership with the country’s central bank. The move comes after a government initiative earlier this year (before Petro took office) to tighten it’s grip on cryptocurrency transactions. It was inspired by other countries with their own digital currencies, like Venezuela. We certainly hope that their effort is more legitimate than Maduro’s totally fraudulent and failed cryptocurrency, “El Petro”, which was referred to in the financial press as, and I’m paraphrasing, “The most obviously horrible investment in history”.

 And we have USA Today reporting that while the record number of migrants at the US southern border through July still contains a majority (52%) from the “Northern Triangle” of Central America, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala there are large increases from other countries. These include Cuba at 20,159 and Venezuela at 17,651. Also 5,396 Haitians were picked up. FYI, Haitians have been steadily streaming to the US southern border for years while Cuba and Venezuela are relative newcomers to the party.

 I’m not sure what to make of this next item. Latin American News reports that Nicolas Maduro announced creation of the National Land Commission to reinforce the “policies of democratization of property over the territories and thus strengthen productivity”. At this point we have no further details regarding exactly what this is and what they’ll actually do, other than Maduro’s broad generalizations and lofty goals, but if past is prologue, somebody, somewhere is about to get screwed. Another thing that is certain is that whatever this means and whatever Maduro and the Chavistas do will be ratified by Maduro’s “rubber stamp” TSJ. Remember, up until they made a few minor cosmetic decisions designed to appease international critics, the Venezuela Supreme Court’s judicial scorecard read : Decisions in favor of Chavismo – 50,000 (the TSJ reviews a lot more cases and petitions than the US Supreme Court)…Decisions against Chavismo – ZERO!

 Then we have Syrian Human Rights telling us that little-noticed is the Syrian demographic in Venezuela with between 700,000 and 1 million people of Syrian descent living there. Just as in Syria, where civil war has been raging for years, the community is deeply divided as far as support for the Maduro regime. Being of Arab descent many support Maduro’s anti-Israel stance (part of Maduro’s anti-US imperialism, anti-Zionist rhetoric) but they are wary of his close ties to the Assad regime in Syria (both Assad and Maduro are serial Human Rights violators). Hopefully they will not have to experience civil war as in their home country.

 And we have this from T&T Guardian…Trinidad and Tobago has been hoping to obtain much-needed natural gas from Venezuela’s Dragon Field (in close proximity to Trinidad and Tobago) as there appeared to be a thaw in US – Venezuela relations. Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Stuart Young, went to Caracas to “review cooperation agreements and their strategic alliance”. He met with Maduro and, while no new “historic, strategic agreements” were announced the  Minister of Communication and Information expressed “consolidation of cooperation and solidarity” between the two countries. A spokesperson for the US State Department was asked about possible sanctions easing or lifting, which would be required for a Trinidad and Tobago-Venezuela natural gas deal, their response was “No change. Our Sanctions policy toward Venezuela remains in effect.”

 More tomorrow….

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