More Of The Same

 Well, Inkstick Media had a promising headline, “It’s Time To Try A Different Approach To Venezuela”. We here at TFT are always on the lookout for new, innovative solutions to the disaster that is Venezuela under Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Unfortunately the promising title didn’t deliver the goods. The article was just a repackaging of ideas already put out thereby various entities including the Biden administration…more of the same…

 They suggest the US rethink it’s sanctions policy and find common ground with other Latin American countries to counter Nicolas Maduro. Well, the US has already eased sanctions to allow crude oil shipments to Europe and the US and issued a license to Trinidad & Tobago to develop a natural gas field with Venezuela and for Trinidad & Tobago to export the gas. While it’s too early to tell if any of this will benefit the long-suffering people of Venezuela we’ve already had a glimpse of the Maduro regime’s response to efforts at sanctions easing.

 When the Biden administration eased sanctions to allow crude oil exports to Europe  for debt relief only (Venezuela wouldn’t receive cash payment), after the initial shipment, Venezuela halted more deliveries demanding cash.

 When the Biden administration eased sanctions to allow crude oil exports to the US the Chavistas demanded all sanctions against Venezuela be removed, which hasn’t happened, and oil shipments to the are US are progressing, at least for the time being.

 Now we have the recent Trinidad & Tobago/ Venezuela natural gas license, another no cash for Venezuela deal. We’ll have to see if that actually happens or if the Chavistas make more demands (among other issues with the project). That’s who they are.

 Then you have the Human Rights situation where the Chavistas have assured the UN for years that they were addressing the issues raised by the UN-FFM (United Nations Fact Finding Mission), three times, and they’ve done nothing.

 There are also electoral reforms and judicial reforms needed, and have been called for by the UN and the international community, that the Chavistas have said they’re addressing, and other than cosmetic changes have done nothing.

 With the three major players in South America, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina, all run by leftists ideologically aligned with Maduro in their “socialist” pursuits and have said they want to “normalize” relations with the Maduro regime, the US will be unlikely to find them to be willing partners in fostering changes in the governance of Nicolas Maduro and the Chavistas. Inkstick Media is offering nothing new here.

 Then we have Rio Times telling us that the appointment of new magistrates to the Supreme Court of Honduras has generated significant fissures within the government as evidenced by a recent statement by Vice President, Salvador Nasralla. He said that if Castro (leftist President, Xiomara Castro) and her political party obtain a majority in the high court a scenario similar to the concentration of power in Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela or Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua could be reproduced.

 Upon seeing this I had two thoughts. First was, “This can’t be good”, as the regimes of Maduro and Ortega are the worst Human Rights violators in the Western Hemisphere.

 Second was “How is it that the Vice President is criticizing the President and her party? Well, it turns out that Honduras has an unusual government structure with three Vice Presidents. How does that work? The confusion in the article was about the same as the confusion in Honduras. It may be confusing but things could be worse…they could become Venezuela.

 Then we have Merco Press with a piece that falls into the “He can’t say he had no idea” category with NGO, Cofavic, presenting UNHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), Volker Turk, with a letter during a meeting with Turk and various NGOs. It detailed 14,296 alleged extrajudicial executions in Venezuela since Nicolas Maduro took power.

 The regime’s response was to ratify to strengthen “national mechanisms for the protection of Human Rights and access to justice”, relating to the MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) signed in 2019 for cooperation and technical assistance between the Maduro regime and the UNOHCHR (Turk’s office). How many times have we seen the Maduro regime sign MOUs that are basically meaningless?

 The Maduro regime also chose to deflect rather than address Human Rights concerns with Foreign Minister, Yvan Gil, saying international sanctions had a direct effect on Human Rights of the people…Uhh…OK…but I think bullets to the head, torture, and forced disappearances are a more pressing concern.

 And we have Iran International reporting that Iranian Bank Melfi has loans of roughly $500 million to entities in Venezuela, Syria, and Lebanon, according to a report in Aftab News.

 The bank continues to loan money to questionable entities despite losses of approximately $2.5 billion. Due to the opaque workings of Iranian banks there is a total lack of transparency surrounding the issue. Kinda’ sounds like banks in Venezuela huh?

 Then we have Reuters reporting that PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) is toughening terms for buyers after a month-long halt to most exports of crude and fuel demanding prepayment in cash, goods, or services ahead of loading, according to company documents. This is in response to a couple of payment defaults due to their complex sanctions avoidance strategy.

 There are currently 28 vessels waiting to load some 45 million barrels of crude and fuel. Another 4 ships have been loaded but are awaiting authorization to depart.

 And we have Law 360 telling us that a D. C. Federal judge dismissed Venezuela from a long-running suit filed by an Oklahoma-based petroleum contract-drilling company after it’s drilling rigs were seized at gunpoint over a decade ago. The judge rule Venezuela had sovereign immunity.

 We have followed a lot of these cases, both in the US and around the world, but this is the only one we’ve seen going before a D. C. Federal judge. All the others, with one or two exceptions, found Venezuela responsible and have awarded various plaintiffs billions of dollars. Anybody else see an appeal coming?

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Monday with our next Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment and more current news. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!


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