Late To The Party

 We’ll wrap up this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment shortly but first… IOM reports various UN agencies are launching a $1.72 billion regional plan to support ongoing needs of Venezuelan migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. A spokesperson said “Refugees and migrants from Venezuela cannot be forgotten.”

 We here at TFT contend that they cannot be forgotten because they have been ignored from the beginning. With migrants from Ukraine receiving 5 times the aid of Venezuelan migrants and Syrian migrants getting 10 times the aid the international community has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the over 7 million migrants (and counting) fleeing 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism and the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, the largest number of migrants from any country in the world.

 We’ve said many times and will continue to do so, the Maduro regime’s yearly average of over 1,400 extrajudicial killings and the countless thousands that die constantly from the failures of Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism to provide affordable food, access to medicine, access to fresh water and reliable electricity, and pretty much every other reason you can think of including the dramatic rise of previously eradicated diseases simply isn’t the headline- grabber like the wars in Ukraine and Syria. It is, however, just as deadly (and totally avoidable).

 The international community may be a little late to the party but it’s good to see them finally acknowledging the problem. Now, if we could just get them to acknowledge the cause…

 Then we have Reuters reporting that Venezuela President, Nicolas Maduro, named Pedro Rafael Tellechea as the new head of PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) and Yvan Gil Pinto as the new Foreign Minister. Both of those replaced, Asdrubal Chavez and Carlos Faria respectively, will have new roles with his government, Maduro assured.

 Maduro is constantly rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, constantly shuffling Ministers from one position to another, making accountability for the myriad economic, social, humanitarian, and environmental disasters nearly impossible. The one constant is that Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism has destroyed virtually everything it has touched, in Venezuela and beyond.

 And we have Translating Cuba with the headline “Castroism Destroys Everywhere It Goes” (Castroism…Chavismo…is there a difference?). The article was long and detailed but let’s see if we can condense it a bit.

 “The Cuban model…developed in the image and likeness of it’s creator, Fidel Castro, …was simply a great manipulator, a seller of promises, capable of captivating many deluded people…His doctrine of action was always oriented to the seizure of power and perpetuation in it…Castroism has been catastrophic for Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua…decades after it’s appearance, the mentioned countries are submerged in misery.” Is it any wonder that the top three countries represented in encounters at the US southern border are Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua? (Along with Haiti, which is perpetually in the mix)

 Note : I think the key takeaway is the Cuban model’s design for maintaining power which was embraced and implemented by both Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. It shows that if authoritarians are willing to forsake the needs of their people and are willing to arbitrarily violate Human Rights and do whatever it takes to remain in power it is very difficult to dislodge them.

The we have CNN reporting that the Venezuelan Embassy in the US, closed by Nicolas Maduro in 2019 and subsequently taken over by the Venezuela opposition’s “interim government” is closed again due to the decision by the opposition’s 2015 National Assembly (Still recognized by the US and many other countries as the legitimate government of Venezuela) to dissolve the “interim government” and replace “interim president”, Juan Guaido.

 All officials who worked at the embassy as well as their mission to the OAS (Organization of American States) will remain in the US. This includes Carlos Vecchio, who served as Juan Guaido’s ambassador to the US and who fled Venezuela in 2014 after Nicolas Maduro had a warrant issued for his arrest (and arrested  and imprisoned one of our heroes, Leopoldo Lopez). The saga (and confusion) regarding Venezuela and it’s governmental and political machinations continues…

 Then we have ISNA telling us that Iran’s Ayatollah Raisi said “Implementation of Iran/Venezuela pacts operationalizes (spell check tell us that’s not a word) capacities of deepening ties.” While we’re not exactly sure what that means, he almost makes it sound like all those “historic, strategic agreements” are actually doing something. (We have long contended they’re meaningless) OK, so if that’s the case why did oil production in Venezuela in 2022 decline even though it was the focus of many of those agreements?

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 11 continued…

 …The opposition refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election process for the ANC, as they should have, so the ANC was created almost exclusively Chavista. Now you had a national Assembly controlled by the opposition that was duly elected by the people but couldn’t actually pass laws (although they continued to do so). You also had a parallel “constituent assembly” controlled by the Chavistas that was fraudulently created so according to the Constitution they were powerless but Maduro, the TSJ, and the Electoral Council all recognized them as the legitimate lawmaking body for the country and besides, they were going to rewrite the Constitution anyway.

 The ANC, almost immediately, passed an anti-hate law and created a Commission of Truth, Justice, and Peace to investigate violations of said law. The law and commission were about as believable as “The People’s Democratic Republic of…” The United Nations never recognized the ANC and declared the Commission of Truth, Justice, and Peace didn’t meet the basic requirements of transparency and impartiality to conduct investigations. Oh, did I mention that the election of the ANC was boycotted by 70% of the electorate? Oh yeah, and FYI, years after it’s creation for the express purpose of rewriting the Constitution nobody ever talked about rewriting the Constitution.

 Summary : While it is evident that Hugo Chavez had Venezuela’s democracy and economy headed for a cliff it was Nicolas Maduro who stepped on the gas and sent their democracy and economy hurtling into the abyss. Why is it that those who say they’re protecting “the people” and “democracy” show the most blatant disregard for both?

 History is a series of conflicts and tipping points. If you want to find the tipping point for Venezuela’s transition from democracy to dictatorship you need look no further than the day the Chavistas had key MPs for an opposition super-majority in the National Assembly disqualified after being duly elected. From that point on an emboldened Maduro, backed by the TSJ, demonstrated blatant disregard for the Constitution, the rule of law, and the well-being of the Venezuelan people. There have been contributing factors here and there but that was the day democracy died in Venezuela.

 That wraps up this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment. We’ll have more news for you tomorrow…

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