What About The People?

 Our friends at Caracas Chronicles had a piece that went into great detail on the Maduro regime’s current stance regarding the negotiations in Mexico with the Venezuela opposition (they’re demanding everything and conceding nothing) as well as the opposition’s stance. They are negotiating from a position of weakness (as a sales and marketing guy in my former life I can tell you that’s not good) and are so fractured and depleted you can expect them to be, more or less, conciliatory. They also confirmed what we’ve been saying and that is that nobody who knows anything about the Maduro regime expects them to abide by any agreement pertaining to free and fair elections (unless the opposition is such a mess that the Chavistas can win without their usual tactics). But how has all this been received by the people who are supposed to get the ultimate benefits of all this (the electoral negotiations and the humanitarian aid fund managed by the UN), you know, the common Venezuelan?

 Political scientist, Ana Milagro Parra, says most people in Venezuela aren’t even aware of what’s happening and those who know show minimal interest compared to the collective obsession about politics that was typical of previous years…”…focused on their own personal realities, just as the government wanted…For now the dialogue is something that’s happening up there (Mexico), with no impact on their lives.”

 It mirrors our take and something we’ve repeated many times. When you’re trying to find fresh water, medicine, food (or scraping together the money to buy it), etc. , in short just trying to survive, it’s hard to pay attention to anything else…And that’s just the way the Maduro regime likes it.

 We also might add, in answer to the “What about the people?” question, maybe they’re just tired, worn out. Ever since Maduro took power in 2013 they’ve been hit from all sides. Every sector of the economy, life, and society has collapsed. Also, unfortunately for the Venezuelan people, they’ve tried to rise up a couple of times as we’ve seen recently in the Covid-19 protests in China. The international community is focused on it and some change is happening over there. Global media also witnessed the changes that came from the “Arab Spring”. But nobody paid much attention to the protests of the “Guarimba” in 2014.

 The “Guarimba” was protesting the lack of medicine and food in Venezuela in 2014 (There’s still an issue with food and medicine in Venezuela today but it’s because, even though availability is better, nobody can afford to buy what they can find) and Maduro’s response was to kill 40 protesters, wound hundreds, and jail thousands. It should have been a big deal to the international community but at the time of the “Guarimba” the Russians invaded Crimea so the global focus was elsewhere.

 Then in 2017 there were massive protests in Venezuela again, still over food, medicine, and Human Rights issues. Maduro’s response was the same as the “Guarimba” but more exaggerated. This time he killed 140 protesters, wounded thousands, and jailed thousands more. It should have been a big deal to the international community but at the time, Kim Jong Un, dictator of North Korea, went on a missile firing binge so the global focus was elsewhere.

 Then, in 2019 the long-suffering people of Venezuela came close to ousting Maduro. The takeover failed (The consensus is that the head of Maduro’s TSJ, Venezuela’s Supreme Court, backed away when it became clear he wouldn’t be the new president hence the military backed away as well.) and the Venezuelan people’s hopes were dashed again.

 Now, with over 7 million migrants and counting, it seems the Venezuelans still “in- country” are just resigned to trying to survive and the Biden administration, as well as much of the international community, seems intent on “normalizing” relations with the Maduro regime, who is currently under investigation by the ICC (International Criminal Court) for Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity. It’s a sad thing to witness.

 Then we have News Busters telling us that Latino corporate media once again validated their role as propagandists and buffers of damaging news for the Biden (and Maduro) regime, with Univision and Telemundo granting the awful US-Maduro deal to pump Venezuelan oil a scant one minute and 15 seconds of combined airtime since the deal was announced on November 26th. They gave Jill Biden’s White House Christmas Decorations 11 minutes of coverage. They are obviously more concerned with DNC (Democratic National Committee) talking points than news reporting.

 And we have Political Wire telling us that just days after the Biden administration changed it’s border policy in October the number of Venezuelan migrant encounters at the US southern border dropped 80%. Now, with Title 42, the “remain in Mexico” policy, due to sunset this month, Mexicans and Central Americans have replaced the Venezuelan migrants and there is no change in the overall number of encounters at the border, already at record numbers. What will the numbers be when the Venezuelan migrants rejoin the mix?

 Then we have Reuters reporting that the Amuay refinery, Venezuela’s largest gasoline producer, halted production due to a breakdown of it’s FCC (Fluid Catalytic Cracker). Even when their systems are online, Amuay, and Venezuela’s other refineries are operating at a fraction of capacity due to various failures and lack of supplies. We would add that fires and explosions are regularly reported (blamed by the Maduro regime on sabotage…you know…those right-wing extremists trying to bring down “The Revolution”).

 And we have CNN reporting that Chevron and PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) officially signed the contract to resume operations toward exporting oil to the US. A senior Treasury Department official reiterated that any profits will go to repaying debt to Chevron and not to the Maduro regime. The question is…do we really believe the Biden administration and the Chavistas? Do I really have to say it?

 And just to keep in perspective who we’re dealing with in terms of “normalizing” relations, France 24 reports that the Director of Venezuela Violence Observatory, Roberto Briceno, says there were 4,000 extrajudicial killings carried out by state forces in 2020 and 2021 (the average per year under the Maduro regime is 1,400 extrajudicial killings per year). “The police are the cause of more victims and deaths than the criminals themselves.” The Prosecutors Office says 358 security officials have been convicted of Human Rights violations, in response to claims of impunity, but NGO, Cofavic, estimates that 98% of Human Rights violations in Venezuela are not investigated.

 Oh, and just in case you were wondering…Havana Times tells us that according to Costa Rica President, Rodrigo Chaves, 96% of asylum seekers in Costa Rica are from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua…Hmmm…and what do those three countries have in common? That would be that all three are run by left-wing dictators.

More tomorrow….



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