American Chavista

 We have a lot of catching up to do so we’ll start our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment next week…but first…As we start a new year and look back at the past it might be a good time to reflect on why TFT exists.

 We have a dual mandate here. To raise awareness on what Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism has done, is doing, and will continue to do to Venezuela and it’s people. The second part is, by shedding light on the Venezuela situation, we can hopefully spot the similarities between what happened there, what is happening there, and what will continue to happen there, and hopefully keep it from happening here.

 That said, we have our title today : American Chavista. To what could I be referring? As you might have guessed, I’m talking about Joe Biden and the Democrats. All the destructive forces unleashed on Venezuela by Hugo Chavez (and now Nicolas Maduro) and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism can be seen in Joe Biden and the Democrats and their vision of what our country should be. We’ve had a good look at it for the 1st two years of Joe Biden’s presidency and it’s ugly. The new socialism of Biden and the Democrats isn’t all that different from the same old socialism that’s been tried before and has failed everywhere. Venezuela is only the most recent and spectacular example.

 I’m not going to launch into a long diatribe today but suffice to say all will be revealed in the days and weeks to come. Joe Biden and the Democrats are “American Chavistas”. They are inept, corrupt, and will do to the American people what has been done to people everywhere people like them have instituted policies like theirs, all in the name of helping “the people”. A quick look at America’s major cities, almost exclusively run by Democrats, and it’s easy to see where we’re headed and it’s not good. That’s why so many are fleeing our big cities, primarily in Democrat run states, and heading to Florida and Texas.

 Now is as good a time as any to think about a couple of old sayings :

 “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” by Mark Twain

 ” People get the government they deserve.” by Thomas Jefferson

 Is this what we want for our country? If not, how about another old saying…”For God’s sake, do something!” by Teddy Roosevelt

 It’s up to us… “We, The People”

 Now to the news…

 Argus Media reports that a major fire that started around the gas separator at Venezuela’s Cardon refinery continued to burn a day later. The refinery, with a capacity of 305,000 bpd (barrels per day), had been running at about 60,000 bpd at the time of the fire but with the complete shut-down the recent surge in gasoline shortages in Venezuela should get worse.

 Then we have La Prensa Latina reporting that the shortage of gasoline in Venezuela, which had eased somewhat in recent months, got much worse in December causing PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) to import fuel. (It’s not talked about much by anyone except us but the OPEC charter, of which Venezuela is a founding member, requires that member countries meet their domestic needs before exporting, not that the Maduro regime cares…just saying…)

 December marked the 20th anniversary of the general strike that crippled Venezuela’s oil production and caused the importing of gasoline. (I know, it’s crazy that the country sitting on top of the world’s largest proven oil reserves has to import gasoline) At the time the event was viewed as “catastrophic” but residents of the oil-producing state of Zulia say it’s “the same experience, right at this time”.

 At least back in 2002, when people waited in line for hours or days, gasoline was almost free. Now it’s 50 cents a liter so it costs about $20 to fill the average tank. It may seem cheap to us in the real world but remember, Venezuela’s minimum wage is currently between $7 – $9 A MONTH!! (Depending on which rate you use) According to Medley Advisors, Venezuela’s refinery sector is operating (when it’s operating) at about 15% of capacity. Stop and think for a minute.

 These are the guys that the Biden administration seems determined to do sanctions relief deals with in return for oil to be shipped to the US. We’ve covered this many times…Venezuela has no spare production capacity and won’t for the foreseeable future. Chevron, the lynch pin for US sanctions relief and currently producing about 30,000 bpd , says it may be able to increase production to 200,000 bpd in two years but won’t significantly invest in Venezuela for st least 6 months. So, what does this mean in simple terms?

 PDVSA can’t produce oil and Chevron won’t so, bottom line, there is no oil, other than current storage, for the US.

 I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at the Biden administration’s stance. Other than a 50 year political career, Biden has no experience in anything and, as his former boss, Barack Obama said, “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to F__k things up.”

 Then we have him being advised by Jennifer Granholm, his Energy Secretary, with no practical experience in the energy industry (except board seats for two EV-related companies) but she has a long career in academia and politics…no help there. So, where does the Biden administration’s energy policy come from?

 Why, that would be AOC (Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) and her “Green New Deal”. FYI, the guy that worked for her and was the architect of the “Green New Deal” has said it was never a plan about energy or the environment…it was about power. (You know, the political kind, not the keeping the lights on kind)

 And where does that have us? We have an inept and corrupt Joe Biden looking to make a deal with an inept and corrupt Nicolas Maduro. What could possibly go wrong?

 Oh, and over the holidays we had Times of India (and everybody else) reporting that the US Supreme Court will keep Title 42, allowing for the rapid expulsion of migrants, in place until it rules on the case brought by 19 states in the late spring. Looks like all those Venezuelan migrants that left the border to regroup made the right call.

 Also on the export front we have Argus Media telling us that Venezuela’s petroleum coke exports, a coal substitute, was up 1,000% in 2022 with China being the #1 destination followed by Turkey, another country not bothered by US sanctions. In the same time frame, US coke exports (the world’s #1 supplier) were up 2.6%

 That will get us started for the week…More tomorrow….

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