Delusions Of Grandeur

 We’ll head Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…I came across an article from the Petroleum Economist that further illustrates the dramatic collapse of Venezuela under the Chavistas and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 Before Hugo Chavez died of cancer and Nicolas Maduro took power there were talks of PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) increasing oil production to 5.8 million bpd (barrels per day) from around 3 million bpd at the time. Last year’s production was just over 600,000 bpd and there have been times under Chavismo with production languishing at under 400,000, even down to 250,000, and there have been months with astonishing production of zero!

 PDVSA, when the Chavistas took power, was the envy of the entire oil producing world and one of the lost profitable companies on the planet. It is now a laughingstock. It is a testament to how well constructed PDVSA was that they lasted as long as they did before imploding due to Chavez purging the employee roles of thousands of experience workers and replacing them with inexperienced Chavista loyalists and then completely ignoring any maintenance whatsoever to critical infrastructure and other poor decisions by Chavez and his successor, the totally incompetent (and criminal) Nicolas Maduro.

 They once had delusions of grandeur, now they have only nightmares (that would be if they cared, which they don’t). I’ve said many times, “If the Chavistas and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism could kill PDVSA they could kill anything”. Well, they didn’t just kill anything…they killed everything!

 Then we have CGTN with the headline “Venezuelan Women Struggle With Income Inequality”. We already knew it was bad in Venezuela with a monthly minimum wage of about $6/ month…A MONTH! Now we find out that, according to a recent study by the Inter-American Development Bank, women earn 22% less than men in Venezuela. When you combine that stat with the fact that 55% of Venezuelan households are run by women the outlook is decidedly bleak.

 Then we have a piece from Reuters that may show all is not lost on the dialog front as far as relations between the Maduro regime and the Venezuelan opposition. It appears that Brazil’s new leftist president, Lula da Silva, is attempting to play facilitator between the two sides despite the Chavistas demanding all sanctions be removed and the UN-managed humanitarian fund be operational as a prerequisite for further negotiations.

 Lula sent his top foreign policy advisor to meet with Maduro, a move that was kept secret until Nico requested a photo op…Hey, you never know…stranger things have happened, especially with Lula. Unlike most socialists, he’s not totally wedded to ideology.

 In his first term as president of Brazil, a couple of decades ago, before his stint in prison (although it’s unclear if he was ever actually incarcerated), he realized Brazil needed to change course economically and support it’s business sector which would produce the revenue for Brazil’s social programs. This led to an era of prosperity for Lula’s administration and the country.

 It will be a tough sell as Maduro hasn’t shown any inclination to listen to anyone. The Russians gave him a four point plan the revitalize their economy and Maduro didn’t institute any of the proposed changes, instead doubling down on the disastrous policies of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. The Chinese tried this kind of talk with the Chavistas a long time ago as well with the same result.

 Last year the Maduro regime experienced it’s first year of economic growth after 8 consecutive years of recession, thanks to a couple of factors, among them being two economic advisors from Ecuador who had previously turned that country’s economy around and Maduro actually listened…at least for a while. He’s now making moves counter to everything that allowed for the fragile recovery and seems intent on continuing the previous economic implosion….but, as I said before…you never know.

 Now, let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 2 continued…

 …Recent oil-related sanctions-easing aside, the sanctions pressure has also been ratcheted up to include the mining sector, which I’ll address in subsequent writings. The rape of the environment, the slaughter of indigenous peoples, and the rampant disease outbreaks (not to mention all the mercury poisoning) caused by Maduro’s “Mining Arc” deserves special consideration. (That’s why Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole has 18 separate chapters, each detailing a particular area of life and society destroyed by Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. The terms, devastation and pervasive, don’t begin to do justice to this travesty) Suffice to say, the Venezuelan people saw no improvement in their situation.

 Protester after protester all have had the same response to the question “Why are you protesting?” And the answer is…”As long as Nicolas Maduro remains in power we will continue to die.” It doesn’t get any more clear-cut than that. Sanctions relief would simply allow Maduro and his cadre to remain in power longer causing more and more people to die every day.That is, of course, unless you believe that Maduro will wake up tomorrow, after almost a decade of doing nothing but inflicting pain and death on his people and suddenly decide to provide them with food (and I’m not talking about his totally fraudulent and ineffective CLAP government food program) and medicine instead of buying more weapons to prolong his tenure. What do you think?

 Another revenue source, which isn’t talked about by the usual suspects and is vehemently denied by the Chavistas, is trafficking. FYI, the evidence that this is going on is overwhelming. Their vast networks for illegal trafficking of narcotics, gasoline, food, and minerals produce an estimated almost $9 billion a year. Where are the stories of the benevolent narco- traffickers buying food and baby formula for the long-suffering people of Venezuela? I will get into the details of the trafficking in subsequent writings but for now, suffice to say that anyone that does even minimal research knows of the existence of these networks and how (and how much) they provide profit for the Chavistas. How else do you explain that Venezuela, despite the fact that they have no real economy to speak of, still ranks number 8 in the world in private jet ownership? These are bad guys and what they have done, and are doing, to the Venezuelan people is pure evil. As Edmund Burke said, ” The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

 More tomorrow….

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