OK...Just Stop!

 Before we get started on this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment we have a group of Venezuela/Russia pieces. First up…Interfax reports that Russia and Venezuela have signed a contract to deploy a Glonass measurement station in Venezuela. It will monitor satellite signals and receive and transmit satellite navigation information.

 Then we have Interfax telling us that PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) CEO, Asdrubal Chavez, announced they have set up working groups to pursue 5 joint ventures with Russian oil companies for oil producing and refining. This should be interesting. The Iranians, after pledging to help Venezuela restore production  and refining capabilities, are already finding out the degree to which the Chavistas have destroyed Venezuela’s oil infrastructure.

 And we have Reuters telling us that Russia Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak, says Moscow is working with Venezuela on possible adoption of it’s Mir card payment system. Hey, why not ? The Mir card is already accepted in Cuba and Turkey!

 Then we have Reuters also reporting that Novak, also in charge of Moscow’s ties with OPEC (Oil Producing and Exporting Countries), met with Venezuela Oil Minister, Tareck El Aissami, also in charge of restructuring Venezuela’s debt (He’s prohibited by sanctions from talking to US bondholders of Venezuela’s defaulted debt, which shows how serious Nicolas Maduro is about restructuring Venezuela’s $60 billion debt), met in Caracas to discuss the oil markets and Venezuela’s debt with Russia.

 Then we have La Prensa Latina reporting that Venezuela and Russia have signed 11 cooperation agreements in the areas of health, energy, maritime transport, and the fight against drugs (The Maduro regime is involved in cocaine trafficking up to their eyeballs). PDVSA also signed two MOUs (Memorandums Of Understanding) regarding development of research and evaluation of technology. Venezuela Oil Minister and Vice President of the Economy (and accused drug- trafficker with ties to terrorists) Tareck El Aissami, said they propose “…drawing strategic lines that redefine a bilateral cooperative agenda.”…OK…Just Stop!

 We’ve told you before that nobody signs more meaningless agreements with more people than the Chavistas and here’s a good example. Tareck also pointed out that the two countries have signed 326 agreements! He then went on to list areas covered by these agreements, which is basically everything you can imagine including a “partridge in a pear tree”.

 Oh, and we have another piece from Interfax telling us that Russia and Venezuela announced an agreement (Is this part of that bunch of agreements previously announced?) to develop a set of digital financial instruments. One of the future products will be a digital platform for raising investment and searching for business partners. As Sunacrip (Venezuela government Cryptocurrency Regulatory Agency)was in attendance at the signing ceremony you have to wonder if “El Petro” is going to be involved. Yes folks, Maduro’s totally fraudulent and totally failed cryptocurrency is still around.

 OK, enough of that…Energy Intelligence tells us that industry sources indicate Chevron’s modified license could allow it to increase it’s oil production in Venezuela to about 200,000 bpd (barrels per day), which is four times it’s current production, but it will take about two years. They also put the Venezuela national oil “production ceiling” at about one million bpd over the next three years. (Remember, Maduro’s prediction was for Venezuela to produce two million bpd this year) For perspective, before the US ban on Venezuela imports the US was importing from 500,000 to 700,000 bpd from Venezuela, almost their total current production.

 And we have Casino Beats telling us that Pragmatic Play has inked an agreement with Venezuela- based Liderendeportes.bet to provide slots, live casino, and virtual sports to Liderendeportes.bet’s Venezuela operations. Looks like the recently reopened casino business in Venezuela is taking off. Nice to know something’s working.

 Let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 10/ The Card…

 “Those who surrender freedom for security will have, nor do they deserve either one”   Benjamin Franklin

 …and a reprise…

 “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  Ronald Reagan

 Extort : To exact or wrest from, to get by threat, violence

 “The Carnet de la Patria” (The homeland or fatherland card) was launched as a mechanism to streamline receipt of government payments and/or benefits. Sounds quite benevolent huh? Well, only if the issuer has your best interest at heart and not their own. Perhaps a closer look is warranted…

 Although the Carnet was launched by Maduro in 2016 the foundation was laid by Hugo Chavez. In April, 2008 Chavez sent a delegation to visit the China technology hub of Shenzhen and the home of Chinese tech giant, ZTE. China was already at the forefront in utilizing technology to further it’s “Big Brother” pursuits. Chavez billed the visit as an effort to help undocumented Venezuelans who might have difficulty opening bank accounts, voting etc. Sounds well-intended enough. (What was it that Grandma used to say? “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”)

 One member of this group was Anthony Daquin, technical advisor and delegation member. He was amazed by the Chinese smart card system and it’s vast database. Through card use they could monitor every aspect of a person’s life, social, political, and economic behavior. Although still in the early stages of development it was easy enough for Daquin to see the tremendous possibilities as technology advanced. The Chinese were already accumulating and rating/scoring it’s citizens. Uhh…OK but do you get the same credit for being a dependable, hard worker as you do for being a loyal party member? Can you say “Cultural Revolution”? For those who don’t know, the “Cultural Revolution” in China under Chairman Mao had similar ideals and was ultimately responsible for killing millions.

 More tomorrow….


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