First up today we have a few pieces from government representatives throwing in their two cents…We’ll begin with SFRC – US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez saying in his opening remarks,”The Maduro regime has overseen the collapse of the economy…education and healthcare systems…invitation to Russian, Cuban, Iranian, and Chinese governments…In the span of a generation, a trusted democratic partner has become a mafia state (Freedom is never more than one  generation away from extinction…Ronald Reagan)…Unilateral concessions to a leader that tortures his political opponents is unacceptable…Because given his track record, given that he makes Al Capone look tame, there can be no return to normalcy with his regime.” As you might expect, we say “Well said Senator!”

 Then we have Reuters with a piece from the same meeting. A US State Department official, speaking before the US- Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said “Nicolas Maduro is making a critical mistake if he thinks our patience is infinite, and that dilatory tactics will serve him well. We stand ready to snap back sanctions and ready to take comprehensive measures if talks are not resumed and make progress.” (referring to the proposed Mexico negotiations between the Maduro regime and the opposition regarding free and fair elections, in which Maduro says his regime won’t participate until the Emtrasur “Mystery Flight” cargo plane and crew are returned to Venezuela from detention in Argentina and Alex Saab, currently awaiting trial in the US and the man at the center of Maduro’s fraudulent CLAP food program who Maduro claims is a ‘diplomat’, is free)

 The tough talk from the Biden administration comes now that gasoline prices have dropped. We here at TFT would expect an “about face” from the State Department should gas prices rise again, and they will, as the US is now producing 3 million bpd (barrels per day) of oil less than when Joe Biden took office.

 Also from SFRC – US- Senate Foreign Relations Committee we have Ranking Member, Jim Risch saying “In 2020, candidate Biden promised the use of multi-lateral pressure and smart sanctions to stop the Maduro regime and transition to free and fair elections. Instead the administration is pursuing flawed and incoherent (perfect description of the Biden administration in general) efforts which strengthen the Maduro regime and it’s criminal network…nearly two years in, the administration has not sanctioned a single entity or individual tied to the Maduro regime…It’s past time we reassert American leadership in our hemisphere.”

 So, are these guys hardliners? Well, two out of three…maybe. Menendez and Risch have opposed the Maduro regime consistently based on moral and ethical standards. The State Department, on the other hand, will follow Biden’s direction which is based on the political needs of the moment.

 Then we have this from Confidencial ” “Good journalism is the vaccine against authoritarianism.” Journalist, Luz Mely Reyes, co-founder and director of Venezuela website, Efecto Cocuyo, notes that after more than 20 years of censorship in Venezuela (the Chavista years), the country has “information deserts”. An incalculable number of journalists have had to leave the country and haven’t been able to return. The wall around the independent press is anchored  in the justice system.

 Ms. Reyes points out that journalists from digital media have been accused and put on trial, supposedly for slander, ending in sentences either forbidding them from leaving the country (if they want to travel) or the opposite, as happened to Armando.info (the guys that exposed Alex Saab and Nicolas Maduro’s fraudulent CLAP food program). They were already out of the country (fleeing before the story was released) so they were forbidden to return to Venezuela.

 The dismantling of the media industry in Venezuela has gone through several stages and now, in 2022, they’ve adopted a policy of blocking all independent digital media. The policy also affects private telecommunications operators. “We’re in a new scenario where journalism must be exercised from exile….The greatest challenge is to continue existing.”

 Then we have OPEC (Oil Producing and Exporting Countries) saying Venezuela oil production in August was 723,000 bpd, a 14% increase from July. Secondary sources, usually a more accurate number, put production at 678,000 bpd. Either way, Venezuela is a long way from Maduro’s prediction of 2 million bpd by the end of the year. We can expect some game-playing, just like last year when Maduro predicted 2 million bpd production as well, then when it became apparent that wouldn’t happen he revised it to one million bpd and blamed sanctions by the US and EU (European Union), not mentioning that those sanctions were in place when he made his original forecast of 2 million bpd. Then when it became apparent that wouldn’t happen either he just put some phony numbers out there claiming they reached their goal. Venezuela professor, Francisco Monaldi, explained that sanctions didn’t cause the mediocre oil production figures, Venezuela’s limitations are institutional and political.(We’ve previously told you that most reliable oil analysts put Venezuela’s maximum real production capacity is about 850,000 bpd given current circumstances…you know…dilapidated infrastructure and total lack of experienced, qualified personnel after Hugo Chavez fired 18,000 PDVSA, Venezuela government-owned oil company, workers and replaced them with 40,000 Chavista loyalists and if anybody was left after that they soon either joined the flood of 7 million migrants or resigned)

 Then we have Caracas Chronicles telling us that Carabobo Governor, Rafael Lacava, (the Dracula guy) says he won’t be a candidate in the 2024 presidential election due to his close relationship with Nicolas Maduro. Too bad…we loved following his antics during the governor’s race.

 Then we have Colombia announcing they have installed the Inter-Institutional Unit for Reactivating Relations with Venezuela. If new Colombia President, (leftist/ Marxist) Gustavo Petro, follows the Marxist model we can expect the forming of a lot more Institutional and Ministerial units.

 And we have BCV (Venezuela Central Bank) publishing figures for inflation in August of 8.2% for the month, less than half of the number by the VOF (Venezuela Observatory of Finance) which are, unlike BCV’s numbers, historically reliable. Who do you believe?

 Then we have Maduro’s VP, Delcy Rodriguez, saying Venezuela is willing to negotiate re-entry into CAN (Community of Andean Nations). She didn’t say that Chavismo had no interest in the group until many of it’s member nations elected leftist leaders.

 More tomorrow….

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