Then And Now

We’ll begin our daily look at the world of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism with a few related pieces. In the first we have a story put out today (now) but it pertains to something a while ago (then). The Daily Mail reports that a federal judge in Miami awarded the family of a prominent opponent of Nicolas Maduro $73 million in damages in what he described as the “murder for hire” carried out against Fernando Alban carried out by a criminal enterprise led by Maduro.

 Fernando Alban’s death, while in custody of SEBIN (part of Maduro’s three-headed monster of security services) sparked international outrage and is included in the ICC’s (International Criminal Court) investigation into Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed by Nicolas Maduro and the Chavistas. The Maduro regime initially claimed Alban committed suicide, despondent over his incarceration, by jumping out of a 10th floor bathroom window. They were forced to revise their statement when they were informed that the bathroom in question had no windows.Two SEBIN officers were sentenced to 6 years in prison but no charges were ever brought against the people that ordered Alban’s murder. (This is a common theme with Chavismo. No one at a higher level than the scapegoats offered up is ever held accountable)

 Then we have the Daily Mail with another piece reporting on something we told you was coming. The UN-FFM (United Nations Fact Finding Mission) has release it’s third report to the UNHR Council (United Nations Human Rights Council) and, as expected, the report claims Human Rights abuses continue in Venezuela, in some cases ordered by Maduro, according to interviews with former members of the country’s intelligence agencies.

 The reports of electric shocks, beatings, asphyxiation, and other cruel acts while in custody add new detail to the string of Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed by the regime. In addition to the cases against SEBIN, the report detailed 122 cases of Human Rights violations attributed to DGCIM (another part of Maduro’s three-headed monster of security services). The report also details Human Rights abuses in Maduro’s “Mining Arc” (we’ll spare you the particulars as we’ve discussed this abomination many times) including attacks on indigenous populations.

 And we have the Jamaica Observer telling us that Marta Valinas, Chair of the UN-FFM for Venezuela told reporters about a well-coordinated structure implementing a scheme to stifle opposition involving members of military and state intelligence services.”This plan was orchestrated at the highest political level, led by President Nicolas Maduro, and supported by other senior authorities…In doing so, grave crimes and Human Rights violations are being committed, including acts of torture and sexual violence.” Also included in the report was how Nicolas Maduro and Diosdado Cabello (the second most powerful man in Venezuela, some say the most powerful) were involved in “selecting targets” for detention.

 So, what is different between then (when the regime murdered Fernando Alban) and now? Well, back then many of the regime’s Human Rights abuses were overlooked (covered up?). Like when a military officer was wheeled into court for his hearing after three days in custody. The signs of abuse and torture were obvious and the office could barely utter the words, “Help me”. The judge ordered he be taken to the hospital immediately where he subsequently died of his injuries. The ICC was made aware of cases like this and others and the head of the ICC at the time, Fatou Bensouda, started a preliminary investigation. She was a well known Maduro apologist and slow-walked the investigation, not submitting her report until she was leaving office. Now, her successor, Karim Khan, after only a short time in office, has opened an official investigation into Nicolas Maduro and his regime for Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity. It was just such an investigation that brought down Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic, who died in jail as his trial went on for years. We don’t know exactly where this investigation will lead but we can only hope it will provide some justice for the long suffering people of Venezuela.

 Moving on, we have Mehr News telling us that Nicolas Maduro announced Venezuela has received a third oil tanker from Iran. “The oil tanker now comes to serve as a cargo ship for our revolutionary PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company).” Would that be the same PDVSA with it’s tanker fleet in tatters and it’s oil infrastructure collapsed under the stewardship of Nicolas Maduro and the Chavistas?

 The we have Rio Times telling us that even though Venezuela is undergoing a de facto dollarization in several sectors, in the border zone with Colombia there are nuances regarding the Colombian peso (COP) that are important, like the COP is the second-most used foreign currency behind the US dollar, more than the Euro. This should increase with the opening of the Colombia/Venezuela border.

 And we have the Daily Mail reporting that Venezuela parallel government leader, Juan Guaido, gave a quasi-state of the nation address noting that despite setbacks they have spent about $70 million on social programs including assistance for oncology and other health treatments. (Uhh…shouldn’t Maduro be doing that?) The funds came from an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and were cleared by OFAC (Treasury Department).

 Guaido said his parallel government has faced more than 200 legal disputes involving approximately $41 billion. (All the lawsuits seeking payment for expropriations and defaulted debt) He advised creditors that the best way for them to recover Venezuela’s (The Chavista’s) debt is not through carving up the few assets Venezuela has left after the economic destruction wrought by Chavismo but by returning Venezuela to democracy (and dealing with a new government). It’s doubtful the creditors will wait any longer (a lot of these cases go back more than a decade)…especially the bond vultures, not known for their patience… unless the pay-off is big enough.

 And now for something completely different (shout-out to Monty Python)…we have CGTN telling us that Cumbe Tours in Caracas offers a four hour visit to the slum of San Augustin to highlight it’s music, food, and culture….Uhh…I hope we get a follow-up.

 Then we have the International Rescue Committee telling us that the IRC Emergency Watchlist has Venezuela among the countries likely to have a worsening humanitarian crisis. Almost 7 million people have left (the land of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism) and almost 7 million of those left behind (25% of the population) are in need of aid. They expect the migration situation to worsen.

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back with more for you on Monday.

 Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!


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