How Bad Is It?

 We’ll head Down The Rabbit Hole in a sec but first…We all know things must be pretty bad in Venezuela for 6.81 million people to flee 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, but how bad is it? Caracas Chronicles tells us that HUM Venezuela reported 19.7 million people (population – 28 million) in Venezuela lived in multi-dimensional poverty as of March,2022. Other findings in the report were :

 13.1 million people have problems with transportation

 8.8 million go without cooking gas for months (leading to rapid deforestation)

 5.9 million suffered severe power outages

 3.8 million live in inadequate homes

 95% of the population doesn’t have enough income to cover food and basic goods and services like housing, transportation, health, education, and clothing

 12.3 million are in food insecurity and 10 million endure chronic hunger and nutrition deficit for lack of food (previously called “The Maduro Diet”)

 The structural causes of the humanitarian crisis (Chavismo) don’t allow for the expectation of significant changes in the medium term. The World Bank says Venezuela won’t be able to eradicate extreme poverty (The UN metric is under a dollar per day, the minimum wage in Venezuela is less than $14 a month) by 2030, the UN’s previously established date.

 So, how bad is it in Venezuela? Well, in addition to all these stats there is no independent judiciary and Maduro’s security forces operate with impunity committing, on average, over 1,400 extrajudicial killings per year…You be the judge.

 Then we have Rio Times reporting that Venezuela President (Dictator) Nicolas Maduro ordered the National Armed Forces to establish new military bases in the Paraguana Peninsula…”New in concept, not a traditional military base… New in concept, in it’s integration with the population, in the territorial occupation, in the surveillance capacity, in the armed reaction capacity.” How impressive! And exactly why does Venezuela need this new “armed reaction capacity”? Venezuela hasn’t been involved in an armed conflict since Simon Bolivar freed it from Spanish occupation 200 years ago. He can’t even point to a potential threat from Colombia now that their president is one of his Marxist brothers. So…What the hell,Nico? How about some food and medicine for your people? And while you’re at it, how about some water and electricity?

 Then we have the T&T Guardian reporting that a Venezuela national, Santo Rafael Marcano Carrion,has been turned over to the Special Investigation Task Force after his arrest with three other Venezuelans (one other man and two women) in relation to Human Trafficking and Child Prostitution. They allegedly were in possession of a firearm, ammunition, and contraband at the time of arrest…Just the PR Venezuelan migrants need…

 And speaking of Venezuelan migrants, IOM (International Organization for Migration) did a piece on a Venezuelan migrant family’s journey that is all too common. They left Venezuela on foot with a backpack of essentials and $450 cash. On their 5,000 km trek they crossed into Colombia, then through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia before crossing the 12,000 ft. elevation high-desert of Atacama into Chile. As of July,2022 approximately 127,000 Venezuelan migrants have entered Chile through irregular routes and there are currently 450,000 Venezuelan migrants there. It is sometimes (often?) overlooked that with over 6.81 million migrants having fled the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, and no end to the exodus in sight, desperate Venezuelan migrants are everywhere.

 Then we have Human Rights Watch telling us that HRW is calling for UN member countries to deny Venezuela a seat on the UN- Human Rights Council. They cited the report by the UN- FFM (United Nations Fact Finding Mission), The ICC (International Criminal Court) investigation into Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro regime, the fact that Maduro’s security forces killed 19,000 people between 2016-2019 officially recorded as “resistance to authorities” (over 1,400 extrajudicial killings per year), and the 244 political prisoners held in facilities with no UN rights office access  where detainees experience electric shocks, water boarding, sexual violence, and other torture. “The UN rights body would benefit from having one fewer member who’s a walking advertisement for torture and other abuses with impunity.”

 Now let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole, shall we…

 Chapter 2/ continued…

 …Unfortunately for the Venezuelans the situation received very little international coverage. At the same time this was happening the Russians annexed The Crimea so the focus of the world was thousands of miles away.

Over the next year or so stories surfaced about the lack of food and medicine as well as the Human Rights violations so then President Obama initiated the first sanctions. They targeted individuals and were meant to get Maduro to address the situation. In keeping with his MO Maduro denied the humanitarian problem (crisis), blamed the dead and wounded in the demonstrations on right-wing conspiracy and US imperialism, and did nothing for the Venezuelan people.

 When Donald Trump became president he continued the sanctions and added more and more individuals over a two year period in an attempt to get Maduro to change course and care for his people. The result was the same, more bluster and denial, and Venezuelans continued to die.

 In 2017 tensions boiled over and another round of mass protests erupted. The repression ratcheted up and 140 protesters were killed, more than 1,500 wounded, and thousands arrested. This time the world was distracted by North Korea firing missiles so Venezuela was a secondary issue. Conditions stayed the same for the Venezuelan people. The only change in behavior for the government was they finally defaulted on some of their bonds because the government was, for all intents and purposes, going broke. Due to oil revenues there was cash flow. There were also a number of countries and organizations offering help for the Venezuelan people. Maduro still refused to do anything for his people, just more denial and bluster.

 With the individual sanctions having no effect on Maduro’s behavior the US, sensing the time was right due to selective bond defaults, sanctioned the bond market so the government couldn’t issue new debt and added more individuals to the sanctions list. The cash flow was still there as were the offers of humanitarian aid but Maduro continued to ignore the needs of his people.

 The outflow of migrants which had been steadily increasing became a tsunami, and for good reason. The situation for the Venezuela people continued to deteriorate. In typical Venezuelan humor they called it “The Maduro Diet” with the average Venezuelan losing over 20 pounds. Over the next year and a half more than 3 million Venezuelans would leave.

 More tomorrow….

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