A For Effort

 Before we head Down The Rabbit Hole, a quick check of the news feed…The Daily Mail reports that the efforts to have the case against Alex Saab, the architect of Nicolas Maduro’s fraudulent CLAP government food program and other schemes, currently on trial for conspiracy to commit money laundering, dismissed on claims of “diplomatic immunity” suffered another setback.

 We already knew that when he was arrested in Cape Verde , Saab was traveling on a regular passport and the diplomatic passport produced in court by his lawyers expired four months before his trip abroad.

 Now they have produced an electronic  document claiming his status as “special envoy”  but prosecutors submitted a printed copy of the Venezuelan Official Gazette contradicting the item produced by the defense and say it’s evidence that the document for the defense is a forgery. Prosecutors also argued that the claim of “diplomatic immunity” wasn’t raised until two months after Saab was detained. If he really was a “special envoy” of the Venezuela government the issue of diplomatic immunity would have been raised immediately.

 We shouldn’t be surprised by the Venezuela government’s lawyers use of forged documents as proof in a court case. A few years ago, acting as prosecutors, government lawyers presented Google searches as proof that a defendant committed a crime. The only problem was the searches were dated after the suspect was already in custody. Oh well, you gotta’ give ’em an A for effort.

 Then we have g Captain telling us that an oil supertanker (VLCC), under sanction by the US Treasury Department, that ran aground in Indonesia, is reportedly loaded with Venezuelan oil. The Treasury Department’s OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) has now imposed sanctions on the tanker, Djibouti-flagged vessel Young Yong for it’s part in an international oil smuggling network that Washington says supports Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force (not to mention the Maduro regime). The oil that filled the VLCC came from PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) according to documents seen by both Reuters and Tanker Trackers.com.

 The Young Yong has now been blacklisted along with 9 other tankers, most of which have recently been in Venezuela. The sanctions on the Young Yong have caused it to lose it’s Djibouti Maritime Authority flag and it’s seaworthy classification has been cancelled. One of the tankers that was used to fill the Young Yong via ship to ship transfer was already under US sanction.

 This “dark tanker fleet” masks it’s operations using a web of shell companies, document falsification, ship to ship transfers, and turning off transponders while in transit to avoid tracking. Iran, Venezuela, the Tanker companies, and everyone remotely involved all declined to comment.

 Then we have Merco Press reporting, “Runasur Launched In Buenos Aires”. Runasur, born in April, 2021 takes it’s name from the Quecha word “runa” (man) and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations).

 There was plenty of “plurinational, anti-imperialist, and anti-capitalist” rhetoric provided by the primarily leftist/Marxist contingent. The former leader of Bolivia and long-time Chavista ally, Evo Morales, proclaimed “As long as capitalism exists the struggle continues, because capitalism and imperialism bring injustice and inequality.”

 Nobody asked him to reconcile that with his Chavista friends, purveyors of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, using authoritarian tactics to inflict suffering on the Venezuelan people where there is no rule of law, no independent judiciary, and 95% of the population lives in poverty while elite Chavistas, responsible for 8 consecutive years of economic contraction (until the last few quarters), make Venezuela still number 8 in the world in private jet ownership.

 And we have Comms Update reporting that Venezuela mobile operator, Digitel (Venezuela government- owned) has moved 7.2 million subscribers to a new Optiva-built platform. The two parties say the move paves the way for 5G connectivity in the coming years. Better late than never…

 Then we have Anadolu reporting that Colombia and Venezuela pledged to save the Amazon rain forest at the COP27 Climate Summit. I can’t speak to Colombia’s environmental efforts but in Venezuela the Chavistas are responsible for frequent pipeline leaks, oil spills, fires, mercury poisoning of the rivers, and rampant deforestation. It would appear that the Chavistas need to save the Amazon from… well…the Chavistas.

 And Responsible Statecraft tells us that Nicolas Maduro, who has already had an impromptu meeting with US “climate czar” John Kerry at the COP27  Climate Summit, met with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa as well. It looks like the leaders from the US and EU (European Union) are signalling a change in their stance toward the Maduro regime even if they won’t say it out loud.

 Now let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 Chapter 7/ continued…

 …Anyway, he expropriated 3 and 1/2 million hectares (a hectare is about 2 and 1/2 acres) of farmland. He divided it into plots with some livestock for each and gave it (without title) to poor families from the barrios (mostly the slums of Caracas). Aside from the fact that my ancestral family were farmers, I think most people know that it’s not an easy way to make a living. Families with generations of accumulated knowledge or corporate farms run by people with agricultural degrees have a rough go of it. What would be the chance of success if you took a family from the South Bronx and dropped them in Nebraska saying “OK, here’s your farm…Good Luck!”?

 You can imagine what happened. 35,000 hectares out of 3 and 1/2 million actually produced. Not exactly a testament to societal experimentation. Try getting a drug approved with a 1% success rate in clinical trials.I do have to tip my hat to the 1% that succeeded. “Good on ya’!” You defied the odds!

 Another victim of Chavista scapegoating was the warehousing/distribution system. They took a big hit in 2014 and never recovered. The warehousing/ distribution companies came under fire during the “Guarimba”, the protests spurred by food shortages in 2014, caused by the ludicrous price controls. Maduro had to blame somebody for the empty supermarket shelves so anyone with a warehouse was an easy target. Inspectors, backed up by the National Guard, would show up at a warehouse, seize whatever food was stored there, jail someone from management, and have it delivered to the supermarkets. “Hoarding by those greedy speculators” would not be tolerated by “The Revolution”!

 More tomorrow….


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