Migrant Q&A...And...

 We’ll be wrapping up this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment shortly but first…With the Biden administration’s new policy at the US southern border (going back to the Trump policy that was in place before Biden created this disaster) there are a few questions about the effect it’s having. Havana Times had the headline, “Facing Harsh Conditions Venezuelans Will Continue To Leave”. The article filled in the blanks on a number of questions that have been hanging out there in light of Biden’s new (old) border policy. Lets do a little Q&A…

 1/ What is the Maduro regime’s response to the massive migration? (7.1 million and counting…the Venezuela population is now down to 25 million and shrinking)

 Answer…Maduro and the Chavistas turn a blind eye to the whole thing and there is no media coverage originating in Venezuela. If you don’t have access to international media there is no migrant crisis. (For years Maduro denied it was happening or said the numbers were exaggerated)

 2/ It’s been reported that Venezuelans applying to enter the US must have a passport and getting documents in Venezuela is difficult, to put it mildly. Any news on that issue?

 Answer…The Venezuela passport is among the five most expensive in the world and is difficult to obtain, as is any document in Venezuela. (It doesn’t help that most of the migrants these days are impoverished and trying to survive on a minimum wage of $14 a month) US authorities are aware of this and in an effort to deal with the problem will accept expired Venezuela passports provided it expired within the last five years.

 3/ What are Venezuelans refused entry at the US southern border doing?

 Answer… As we reported earlier, many will use the revolving door strategy, return to Mexico, regroup, and try to enter again. Others return to Mexico and look for other countries as a destination. Some, without any money or ability to earn money in Mexico will return to Venezuela to regroup and try to leave again, some to other countries including Brazil and Guyana or possibly try the US again.

 4/ What about Venezuelans still in Venezuela?

 Answer…The outflow of migrants from Venezuela will continue, without question. Despite the Maduro regime’s hype about economic recovery (four consecutive quarters of growth after 8 consecutive years of brutal recession) very few Venezuelans see any change with 94% – 96% living in poverty and 76% in extreme poverty and all our other constantly mentioned issues like almost non-existent healthcare, constant blackouts, lack of fresh water, chronic shortages of gasoline and cooking gas, as well as constant Human Rights violations including 1,400 extrajudicial killing per year by Maduro’s security forces. The only hope for Venezuelans remains the same…Maduro has to go.

 That does it for the Havana Times but what about this one from Niskanen Center… They suggest that the US should increase it’s Venezuela migrant “parole” program, currently capped at 24,000. If it’s based, as they say, on the Ukraine migrant program why does the Ukraine program have no cap? The Ukraine program has already facilitated the arrival of 70,000 migrants from the Ukraine and yet the Venezuela number is capped at 24,000? This in light of the fact that there are currently 7.1 million Venezuelan migrants versus 7 million Ukraine migrants. As we’ve said before, war is a much sexier story than starvation.

 Now might be a good time to remind everyone that 5 times as much spent on Ukraine migrants, in terms of humanitarian aid and support, than that spent on Venezuela migrants,per capita, and 10 times as much has been spent on migrants from Syria per capita compared to Venezuela migrants. Why is that? Same answer, war is sexier than starvation.

 And we have La Prensa Latina telling us that IOM (International Organization for Migration) says “Assisted Voluntary Return” can help alleviate America’s migrant crisis. The program assists migrants who have run out of food (and/or money) to return to their homeland now that it’s not so easy to get into the US and even covers travel costs and helps with documentation, primarily aimed at Panama, Costa Rica, and other Central American countries.

 Call me skeptical but how many people that have fled the horrors of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, walked thousands of kilometers, braved the dangers of the Darien Gap (one of the most dangerous migrant crossings in the world) and are now without food (and/or money)  will want to return to Venezuela where they have no food (and/or money), no medicine, water, electricity, and their Human Rights are violated every day? Just saying…

 And we have a surprise from Caracas Chronicles…One of the fastest growing destinations in the US for Venezuela migrants (mostly legal) is…Utah! The numbers aren’t as big as Venezuela migrants in Florida and Texas (20,000 Venezuela migrants in Utah) but percentage-wise they’re growing fast…Who knew?

 Now, lets head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 Chapter 4/ continued….

 …Common scenes in Caracas included people bathing in flooded potholes and collecting water from sewer drains that flow into the Guaire river. As bad as it was using water from these drains it would get worse as the drains dried up and the waste backed up adding to the already dangerous health situation. People everywhere could be seen (and can be seen) carrying buckets, large water bottles, or whatever containers they had (have). Everybody was (is) going out looking for water or carrying it back home if they are lucky enough to find any.

 Like many (most) other things in Venezuela, the military was tasked with water distribution. Those who could afford it paid $200 for a 5,000 liter water truck to fill their tanks.If you didn’t have the $200 (minimum wage at the time was $7 a month and it’s now only up to just under $14 a month) you would be (and are) at the mercy of the military as to who would receive the coveted deliveries. If you were (are) a well connected Chavista you get priority. If not…well…

 The El Avila National Park was also a victim. It became an ecological disaster as people used it’s mountain streams for bathing, laundry, and toilets.

 As if experiencing a fire wasn’t bad enough, fire fighters couldn’t put out fires without water so many would watch their hopes and dreams go up in flames when damage could have been minimal with access to water.

 Years ago, with the water distribution system failing country-wide, the government said it was a priority to meet the UN Developmental Goals so things weren’t good even under “normal” circumstances. The deadline was 2015 and the people are still waiting. In 2019, 79% of hospitals reported irregular water service and it hasn’t gotten any better. The government water utility, Hidrocapital, sometimes cut water service in some areas for 48 hours.

 With the Tuy pumping system and others not able to come fully back online the problem wouldn’t  be solved (and isn’t being solved) anytime soon. But not to worry folks! Maduro announced that the government would supply all the water needed utilizing delivery by tanker trucks. Aside from the fact that the government can’t even keep a fleet of buses running (only one out of ten currently in operation) tanker trucks “ain’t going to cut it”. If you do the math, in order to equal the output of the Tuy pumping system the government would need to deliver three tanker trucks every second! Caracas needs 20,000 liters of water per second. Before  the blackout it was down to 13,000 liters per second and after the blackout it went to zero!

 Summary : Each year since Maduro took power he has proclaimed the coming year to be the “Bolivarian Revolution’s” version of China’s “Great Leap Forward” (responsible for approximately 50 million deaths, by the way) and productivity and economic stability were on the way. Each year conditions would worsen and, while lamenting that it’s the fault of the usual suspects, he has assured the people that “The Revolution” would provide prosperity and security for all. The constant barrage of days furloughed and workdays shortened makes increasing productivity a bit difficult. The Chavistas don’t seem to connect the dots between work and productivity. (Ideological slogans don’t produce anything) There was plenty of advanced warning on both the electric power and water situations. The government did nothing. Here we go again with our broken record. This situation was not caused by outside influences. It was not the result of war. It was not the result of a natural disaster. It was (and is) a man made disaster…A Chavista made disaster.

 That will do it for this week. We’ll be back Monday with another chapter of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole as well as more from the news feed. Until then… Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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