Shout It Out Loud!
From The Daily Signal we have something well worth starting off with today. Her name is Carmen Maria Montiel. She is running for a seat in the US House of Representatives – CD 18. I normally don’t do this but I just can’t help myself. She deserves to be elected to represent the people of her district. I read the transcript of an interview she did for the “Problematic Women” podcast and was quite impressed…and I’m not easily impressed.
She equated our border crisis here with the open border policy in Venezuela in the ’70s and ’80s. It was the children of those migrants to Venezuela that voted in Hugo Chavez in 1998 and Venezuela has never been the same…(It’s the reason we do what we do here at TFT) I don’t need to get into the specifics of the interview because she espoused everything we say here (and will keep saying here) every day.
We support her candidacy and hope to be able to congratulate her in November. Oh, did I forget to mention that she, like my wife…The lovely and talented Duglimar, is Venezolana? …Not to mention a former Miss Venezuela! Carmen! Carmen! Carmen!
And speaking of Venezuelan women, we have this from Amnesty International. In Colombia and Peru, the two main receiving countries for Venezuelan migrants in South America, Venezuelan women face violence and discrimination based on stereotypes of their gender and nationality. It comes not just from society but from government authorities where they are denied access to justice (when filing a complaint) and healthcare.
Whenever I see an article like this, and it’s all too often, I think about how the international community has failed Venezuelans, both the migrants and those left behind (I still have family and friends there). Nobody takes the plight of the Venezuelans seriously, as reflected in the fact that spending by governments and NGOs on Syrian migrants is 10 times more than what is spent on Venezuelans, and at last count there were over 6.4 million Venezuelan migrants.
On the domestic front there are too many Maduro apologists, including the Democratic Socialists of America (AOC and friends) as well as celebrities all too eager for photo ops like Jamie Fox, Danny Glover, Steven Seagal, and the like. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Everybody knows right-wing dictator Pinochet in Chile was a bad guy…but how many know that left-wing dictator Nicolas Maduro (he’s not president, he’s a dictator) is responsible every two years for the same number of extrajudicial killings as Pinochet had in 17 years? We here at TFT will continue banging the drum until Maduro and the Chavistas are nothing more than a stain on Venezuela’s history. We also hope to one day say the same for socialists here in the USA.
Then we have something I was alerted to by BNN Bloomberg and subsequently did some checking on Dolar Today. It relates to something we’ve been anticipating for a while. The exchange rate for the bolivar (Venezuela local currency) to the dollar is 9.1 bs / dollar. On August 1st it was 5.9 bs/ dollar. On June 1st it was 5.1 bs/ dollar and as recently as this past Monday was 6.5 bs/ dollar. Note : The official exchange rate by the BCV (Venezuela Central Bank) is 7 bs/ dollar…quite a discrepancy. This usually means somebody knows something.
I had a bit of a flashback to my life in Venezuela before I escaped 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. I used to check the exchange rate every day, especially during the four-year period of hyperinflation. If you were going to exchange dollars for bolivars you had to check the rate and it could move a lot in a day. Nobody used the government rate as it was completely disconnected from reality, sometimes as much as 10 times the government rate. Until I lived in Venezuela I never paid much attention to exchange rates. In other countries the rate was the rate, give or take a little minor fluctuation, but in Venezuela you could get multiple times the government rate exchanging currency on the black market (they call it the “parallel market”) and the rate could have huge swings in a day…sometimes in hours, so you had to pay attention.
The rate has remained pretty stable since the Maduro regime’s latest redenomination of the currency last fall. This was the effect of the BCV aggressively buying bolivars to keep the exchange rate stable and encourage the use of the bolivar. (The Chavistas have lopped off 14 zeros from the currency between Chavez and Maduro so you would need billions and billions of today’s bolivars to buy what could be purchased with one bolivar pre- Chavismo) Since May the BCV has backed off it’s bolivar buying since they can’t keep it up indefinitely (they’re for all intents and purposes…broke!) Now that the bolivar has to stand on it’s own the devaluation has begun again. This is frightening for the inflation outlook if the bolivar keeps falling. Remember, we just got out of hyperinflation and the latest reading still had inflation at 155%.
Then we have the T&T Guardian reporting that the multi-million dollar illegal copper and metal trade in Trinidad and Tobago is linked to Venezuelan gangs and Chinese mafia exporting mainly to China. The government of Trinidad and Tobago has banned exports of scrap iron and metals until February 23, 2023 blaming the problem on the collapse of the Customs and Excise system. “Right now, anything is passing through.”
And we also have T&T Guardian telling us that two Venezuelan nationals were arrested after being seen transporting illegal firearms. They had over $33,000 cash at the time of arrest and the money has been seized. In Trinidad and Tobago, anything involving Venezuelans makes the news.
And here’s a good one for ya’…Open Democracy tells us that the country with the most Venezuelan refugees and migrants, per capita, is…wait for it…Aruba with 159 per 1,000 inhabitants. The UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) says over 17,000 Venezuelans had arrived in Aruba by mid-2021. (Aruba isn’t that big) According to HIAS (humanitarian organization) most Venezuelan asylum requests are denied.
Then we have MEI telling us that despite Iran’s 8th President, Ebrahim Raisi, vowing to be different from his predecessors, relations with Venezuela are much like they have been for some time. If you ask me, the current iteration is just louder and more visible on social media.
There has been a lot of hype (on both sides) over the recent “historic, strategic agreement” signed by the two countries. This is not the first of it’s kind to be signed by Iran and Venezuela (Venezuela signs these all the time although this one is different in that it’s a 20 year agreement).
Raisi also had a new Iranian-built tanker delivered to Venezuela. He is not the first Iranian president to do that either.
The article went into great detail, walking us through the regimes of Chavez and Maduro and the corresponding last three presidents of Iran. It all comes down to whether or not Iran and Venezuela could count on more support from Russia and China. Only time will tell but if things remain as they are Iran and Venezuela will remain pawns in the geopolitical chess game and at the whims of Moscow, Beijing, and Washington.
That will do it for this week. We’ll be back Monday with more dispatches from the land of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!
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