You Can't Help Them!

Nicolas Maduro constantly reminds us how much he loves the people of Venezuela. He has the Democratic Socialists of America fooled. After they visited him in Caracas one attendee said, “I found him to be a good man who cares deeply about his people.” What’s that old saying?…”Don’t tell me you love me…show me.”

 A few years ago when there was no food or medicine in Venezuela (today there’s food and medicine around but nobody can afford to buy it) the international community, much to their credit, mobilized and the Red Cross and other organizations filled warehouses in bordering Colombia and other countries in South America with humanitarian aid, much like disaster relief efforts we all see on TV. Nicolas Maduro and the Chavistas refused to allow it into the country. His Vice-President, Delcy Rodriguez, told the world it was because they couldn’t verify the origins of the shipments and whether or not the food and medicine were safe for the people of Venezuela. When was the last time you saw the Red Cross not be allowed to help disaster victims or refugees? Maduro and the Chavistas effectively said, “You can’t help them!”

 Now we have Foreign Policy reporting on an impending similar situation. NGOs, vital to the survival of many Venezuelans (3 out of 4 live in extreme poverty and the UN estimates approximately 7 million are in need of assistance), have long been a target of Chavismo who claim they are agents of their foreign donors, intent on destabilizing the government. The Chavistas just started allowing NGOs access to the Venezuelan people a couple of years ago and only on a limited basis. (The truth is that NGOs make them look bad and the Chavistas don’t like anything they don’t control) NGOs mitigate the collapse of public services and institutions under the Maduro regime, who continue to ignore the humanitarian crisis killing Venezuelans every day.

 Soon the government will have a new weapon to use against NGOs with the proposed new law in Maduro’s AN (National Assembly) which, by the way, approves anything proposed by Maduro and it becomes law…I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already but I guess it’s not all that urgent. The leaked draft of the “Law on International Cooperation” would require NGOs to register with the agency in charge of promoting the state’s “activities of international cooperation.” The agency would also create a fund where all international donations would be held and then the agency would decide which NGOs to finance. Organizations would have to “adjust their guidelines” to fit rules created by the agency.They would also have to record all their beneficiaries and activities with the state. In effect, the Chavistas would control the NGOs. (What could possibly go wrong?)

 It’s important to remember that in addition to providing food and medicine to the people that the government is incapable or unwilling to supply, it is the NGOs, along with the journalists that haven’t been driven out of the country, that monitor the widespread Human Rights violations committed by the Maduro regime. Venezuela Human Rights activists compare the proposed new law to Russia’s “foreign agent” law and Nicaragua’s recent purge of nearly 200 NGOs. (Both countries are allies of the Maduro regime) It shouldn’t be long before we learn the fate of NGOs in Venezuela and, unfortunately, I’m not optimistic.

 Then we have Fox New’s Judge Jeanine Pirro suggesting that part of the solution to countries like Venezuela not taking back migrants deported from the US may be to threaten to withhold aid and subsidies to these nations which in Venezuela’s case is $105 million.

 Well, I call ’em like I see ’em and as much as I enjoy Jeanine Pirro’s commentary  she’s suggesting something that may apply to other countries but would be totally counterproductive as far as our policy toward Venezuela is concerned. The reality is that US funds to aid Venezuela do not go to Caracas and the Maduro regime. These funds go to the parallel government of interim President, Juan Guaido, who we recognize as the legitimate leader of Venezuela and support in his opposition to dictator, Nicolas Maduro, and his efforts to return Venezuela to democracy.To withdraw that funding would weaken the parallel government and strengthen the Maduro regime. Venezuela is a different situation than Cuba or Nicaragua…or anyplace else for that matter.

 Then we have Nasdaq reporting that officials of the Venezuela regime of Nicolas Maduro have resumed control of Monomeros, a Colombia/Venezuela fertilizer plant, located in Colombia. The facility was previously controlled by the Venezuela opposition when the Colombian government recognized opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as Venezuela’s legitimate president. The new Colombia administration of leftist/Marxist President, Gustavo Petro, has recognized Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president and has ratified Maduro regime officials as the new board of Monomeros. In June the US Treasury Department – OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) extended the operating license for Monomeros making it exempt from sanctions against Venezuela.

 And we have FX Empire reporting that Geneva-based company, Maroil, has taken over most of Venezuela’s petcoke exporting. The petroleum byproduct can be used as an industrial fuel but is a high-emissions replacement for coal. The move may allow Venezuela to skirt US sanctions against PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) to Venezuela’s largest petcoke buyer, India.

 Then we have People’s Daily telling us that the Foreign Ministers of Venezuela and China met on the sidelines of the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly). Both sides expressed solidarity and a desire to deepen bilateral ties. Just so you know, China has not issued a new loan or entered into a new joint venture with Venezuela in years. (After being denied money and/or investment on several trips to Beijing Maduro didn’t even bother to go there on his recent world tour) They’re still trying to collect on the loans for oil shipments deals of the past (China loaned approximately $60 billion to Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro) as Venezuela struggles to produce oil to export to China…hence Venezuela’s increased ties with Iran….until the Chavistas screw them like they did the Chinese.

 And we have Rio Times reporting that Nicolas Maduro, in a state TV broadcast, accused US president, Joe Biden, of criminalizing migrants and using the situation to attack Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. He also blamed US sanctions for the almost 7 million Venezuelans that have left his country. (We’ve previously debunked this claim as the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela started in 2013, shortly after Maduro took power, which was years before US President Obama’s first individual sanctions in 2015 and even more years before sanctions against the government of Venezuela in 2017)

 It’s worth noting that for years Maduro and the Chavistas denied the Venezuela migrant situation was even happening (“The numbers are drastically inflated and a product of the international media”)…I mean who would want to leave the wonderful world of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism?

 He also restated his claim that between 2018-2020 over half the people that migrated from Venezuela returned and continue to return. We’ve previously shot holes in this one as well, using the government’s own numbers. We put the number of returnees at closer to 30,000 out of almost 7 million that have fled the Maduro regime, and continue to leave…every day.

 Then we have Comms Update reporting something that we knew was coming. The Venezuela government-owned telecom company, CANTV, is offering class D share on the Caracas Stock Exchange (so much for capitalist-bashing huh?) at 32 bolivares ($0.40 US) per share until October 21st. The over 39 million shares offered, equivalent to a 5% stake in the company, hope to raise around $15.7 million. At this time there are no further details on what happens with the shares after October 21st and any restrictions there may be on redeeming the shares. I know I would have a few questions about investing in these shares and the Maduro regime is notoriously reluctant to provide details on any transaction. Remember Maduro’s failed cryptocurrency,”El Petro” called “the most obviously horrible investment in history”?

 More tomorrow….

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