No End In Sight

 Well, it’s pretty easy to figure out where we’re starting today. The Venezuela migrant crisis slowed to a trickle during the pandemic but now it’s back to flood stage and there’s no end in sight. Caracas Chronicles reports that Human Rights Watch senior investigator, Juan Pappier, says 32,000 migrants crossed the Darien Gap (one of the world’s most dangerous migrant crossings) in August, a 4,050% increase from August, 2021.

 Panamanian authorities confirmed they found 18 bodies of migrants in a common grave in Darien (decomposing corpses are found in the Darien jungle all the time), most of which were Venezuelan. Their theory is that if migrants oppose the ‘coyotes’ they’re murdered. They estimate 108,000 migrants have crossed Darien this year and over 70,000 are Venezuelans.

 Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo says that sources in El Paso, Texas tell her that 1,300 Venezuelan migrants cross the border every day.

 Update: The El Paso Times tells us that Ms. Bartiromo’s sources got the number wrong. There are 1,300 migrants crossing the border into El Paso every day but only 660 a day are Venezuelans. (FYI, a few years ago there were less than 100 Venezuelan migrants crossing the border annually) That said, the city’s shelters are overwhelmed, people are camping everywhere on the streets, and city services are stretched to the limit. (Kinda makes you wonder how it is that big cities like New York and Washington, DC say they’re having a huge problem dealing with a couple of busloads of migrants from Texas here and there…a total of maybe 2,000 migrants… El Paso is getting more than that every two days…and the Biden administration says they have the border under control…)

 Then we have UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) telling us that in recent years more than 760,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees have crossed the border into Brazil, 350,000 of them remaining in the country. The numbers would be higher but for the fact that the Venezuela/Brazil border is a very remote area.

 And we have KVIA  reporting that most Venezuelan migrants arriving at the US southern border were able to cross Mexico legally thanks to a “safe passage” document available at Mexico’s southern border from the National Institute of Migration.

 The El Paso Times had no idea what they were predicting when they said last week that the hundreds of Venezuelan migrants they were seeing daily could signal a big increase…uh yeah…like 660 a day! And that’s just El Paso…

 It does make you think about where this all ends for the Venezuelan migration crisis. So far it seems it will only end when they run out of people. 20% of Venezuela’s population has already fled Maduro’s 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, almost 7 million migrants.

 Then we have the Rio Times telling us that Nicolas Maduro has announced general elections for mayors, governors, and deputies (representatives) of the National Assembly. The last elections for the AN (National Assembly) were in 2020.

 Then there’s the BA Times reporting that an Argentine Federal Court of Appeals has upheld the earlier decision to allow 12 of the 19 crew members from the Emtrasur “Mystery Flight” to return home. The court gave the judge 10 days to conclude all pending proceedings. It can still be appealed to the Supreme Court. The ban on the other crew members leaving remains in place including 4 of the 5 Iranians. (you know…the guys with the ties to Quds Force, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s foreign operations arm as well as Hezbollah)

 And we have City AM telling us that, in case you were wondering if Nicolas Maduro or a representative from his regime would be welcome in the UK at the Queen’s funeral, the answer is…No!

And on a positive note (we don’t have near enough of those for Venezuela) Venezuelan fintech Ubii closed it’s first investment round at $4.5 million. With Ubii’s app Venezuelans can make local payments and Venezuelan migrants can send money home from abroad. We here at TFT are very happy for these Venezuela entrepreneurs and hope this financial instrument will help the struggling Venezuelan people. They need all the help they can get.

 Then we have Fleet Mon with a bizarre story. Two stowaways were killed and 12 escaped aboard a Chinese bulk carrier en route from Lagos,Nigeria to Venezuela. The question is, why would anyone stow away on a ship bound for Venezuela? Things must be pretty bad in Nigeria.

 And we have Daily Mail telling us that Nicolas Maduro announced Venezuela will act as “guarantor” in peace talks between Colombia’s government and rebel group ELN. How effective Venezuela will be in this diplomatic role remains to be seen as, in a report earlier this year from Human Rights Watch, the Venezuela military conducted joint operations with ELN to gain control of drug trafficking routes. They may have their own agenda.

 Then we have Tasnim News Agency reporting that an Iranian lawmaker disclosed that the Iranian Oil Ministry has signed contracts with Uruguay and Venezuela to build refineries in the two South American countries. He said Iran will deliver input to the refineries (don’t get me started on why Venezuela, sitting on top of the world’s largest proven oil reserves needs to receive crude oil from Iran), hold a stake in the plants, and provide technical and engineering services for their operation.

 Then we have Global Americans asking the question, “What is Nicolas Maduro’s foreign policy?” When Nicolas Maduro took power in 2013 Venezuela’s foreign policy profile was decidedly proactive due in large part to efforts by Maduro himself (acting as Foreign Minister) on behalf of Hugo Chavez with membership, and in some cases founding of, international and regional multi-lateral organizations. That was back in the days when Venezuela actually produced oil (approximately 2 million bpd, barrels per day, as opposed to 650,000 bpd today) and could use the revenue to further it’s political influence.

 Since taking the reins Maduro has gradually withdrawn (in some cases kicked out) from most of these organizations to alleviate pressure from other countries over his authoritarian tactics, the repression of his own people, the overall decline of democracy, and the self-inflicted humanitarian crisis causing almost 7 million Venezuelans to flee 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 He is generally recognized in the international community as a dictator, (although many don’t condemn him fervently enough…kinda’ overlooking those 1,400 extrajudicial killing per year) overwhelmingly unpopular with the citizens of Venezuela (current approval rating…5%) so his current foreign policy is more one of bi-lateral relations with countries led by like-minded authoritarians.

 Russia and China were instrumental in propping him up as Venezuela’s economy imploded under his stewardship and today he has added countries like Turkey and most notably Iran, both comfortable with his authoritarian (totalitarian?) ways.

 Going forward we may see more engagement by Maduro with multi-lateral organizations on a regional level due to the recent success of leftists in Latin American elections. How things play out with the new leftist/Marxist President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, will also bear watching.

 Then we have Wingo Airlines announcing that flights between Venezuela and Colombia will resume October 4th, but INAC (Venezuelan regulatory agency) says “Not so fast…Wingo hasn’t been authorized yet.”

 And we have this from Inacsin…they say there were 446 labor conflicts in Venezuela in August. (Sounds about right…we told you…the workers, especially the teachers, aren’t happy)

 That will do it for this week. We’ll see you Monday. Have a great weekend everybody!!!



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