Dude, You've Got Issues

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a bit but first…Our friends at Caracas Chronicles did a piece on the Venezuela opposition’s Unitary Platform (The successor of the opposition coalition MUD). Clearly they have a lot of issues facing them. Not the “Where do you stand on the issue of…” kinda’ issues but the “Dude, you’ve got issues” kinda’ issues.

 In the 2021 regional elections, anti- PSUV (Chavista) candidates got more total votes than PSUV but won just a few states and municipalities and we saw the rise of new parties that claim to oppose Maduro but are not part of the Unitary Platform thus drawing votes away from them.

 Three members of Primero Justicia, a major political party, have declared themselves candidates to be the the party’s nominee in the 2024 presidential election, rather than resolving the issue internally then presenting a united front. The Unitary Platform clearly lacks cohesion and discipline and it’s possible candidates who don’t secure the coalition’s nomination to oppose Nicolas Maduro could launch their own campaigns, which favors Maduro.

 The Unitary Platform is desperately in need of legitimacy which they could acquire through the negotiations with the Maduro regime in Mexico. The problem is that only the US has what Maduro wants, sanctions relief, so the Unitary Platform must depend on the US to deliver something for them.

 If they can show tangible results from the talks in Mexico it would go a long way toward unification of a fractured opposition with everyone pursing their own interests rather than focusing on what should be the goal, removing Maduro from power.

 The we have Reuters reporting that attorneys for Alex Saab, the architect of Maduro’s fraudulent CLAP government food program and other illicit enterprises by the regime, is making their case before US District Court Judge, Robert Scola, in a court hearing in Miami.

 They are arguing for dismissal based on “diplomatic immunity” while prosecutors say such claims are fraudulent. We have gone over both sides numerous times. There was, however, something new in the article…

 The evidence provided by Saab’s defense, at best, shows he had the status of a “special mission” diplomat and that does not provide diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, according to prosecutors.

 Then we have Y Net News telling us that Iran is smuggling gold from Venezuela to fund Hezbollah, it’s Lebanese terrorist proxy, using Iran’s Revolutionary Guard dealing with the Venezuela government (Maduro regime) and using Mahan Air (Remember them? The blacklisted Iranian government-owned airline at the center of the Argentina detained 747 cargo plane controversy) to circumvent US sanctions, according to a British-based group and citing Iran International, Lloyd’s Marine Insurance Company.

 The article went into detail regarding the machinations of the process but the gist of it  is Iran sends oil to Venezuela and Venezuela sends gold to Tehran who in turn sends it to Hezbollah, who by the way, has a presence in Venezuela.

 And we have The Edge Markets telling us that Malaysian national, Leonard Glenn Francis, a.k.a. “Fat Leonard”, who escaped from home detention and fled to Venezuela, may soon be extradited back to the US, according to journalist, Tom Wright.

 “Fat Leonard” escaped while awaiting sentencing for the biggest multi-year corruption scam in US Naval history. The deadline to officially file for extradition from Venezuela was yesterday.

 Then we have Merco Press telling us that Caracas will gradually resume ties with the Caribbean Dutch territories of Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire. Maduro has held bilateral meetings with the Netherlands in pursuit of reactivation of connections according to a joint statement between the Venezuela Foreign Ministry and the Dutch Embassy in Caracas.  Venezuela’s borders were closed to the three islands in 2019 to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid by sea. (Another example of Maduro’s “love for the people”)

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 10/ The Card continued…

…Such was the quandary for Daquin. Right behind his amazement and the potential for doing a lot of good was his fear and the potential for doing a lot of harm, evil if you will. He approached government officials with his concerns about the possible abuse of such a system. Their response was quintessential Chavismo. He was detained, beaten, threatened, and eventually fled the country.

 Just because there wasn’t much news about this initiative doesn’t mean nothing was happening. The Venezuelans tried advancing the project on their own…and failed. They got the Cubans to help…and that failed. Finally they went back to the source, the Chinese and ZTE. With the advances in technology the Chinese had them set up in short order with biometric smart cards capable of using digital wallets to process payments and more importantly updating the database. If you have the “Carnet de la Patria” any government bureaucrat can access the following simply by entering your name :

 Family information

 Employment and income

 Property owned

 Medical history

 State benefits received

 Presence on social media

 Membership of a political party

 Participation in Socialist Party events

 Whether you have voted

 The card is not required by the government but over half the population have registered. The majority of them did so for benefit-related purposes. Retirees get their pensions through the card, remember that from the “El Petro” story?  The CLAP government food program is run through the card. In return for supplying the government with basically everything they could possibly want to know about your life you get a box of food every month or so at a cheap price (free for some). This is the most common and insidious use of the card. With the distribution overseen by the military and run by the ‘colectivos’, Chavismo’s private militia numbering over 400,000, you can expect a visit anytime the government wants your participation or cooperation in something. Comply and your CLAP food box arrives, maybe even on time. Don’t comply…good luck.

 More tomorrow….

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