We’ll head Down The Rabbit Hole in a sec to wrap up this week’s segment, but first… Vanguard tells us in their headline…”Election : Venezuela’s Maduro Says He Doesn’t Care What The International Community Thinks”. Here is the condensed version of what Maduro had to say, not because we want to remove context but because he rants and rambles so we’ll give you the salient points. This was broadcast on state TV.

 “We don’t care what imperialism thinks, or what the oligarchies think (He forgot to get “colonialists” in there) about the political, social, institutional, cultural, and economic life in Venezuela… We never cared what they said… The presidential elections will come, the people will choose, and well, we will continue.” (What! No “They can’t bring down the revolution!”)

 This comes just after Jorge Rodriguez, the head of Maduro’s delegation for talks with the Venezuela opposition regarding free and fair elections as well as a host of other issues (You know, the usual suspects like arbitrary detentions, Human Rights violations, etc.), demanded sanctions be lifted against Venezuela as a prerequisite for further talks.

 If past is prologue we can expect Maduro to do a 180 and call for dialog followed by another 180 to get us right back to where we are today…lather…rinse…repeat. He doesn’t care about what the international community thinks…until he does.

 I would tell you that I wish Maduro would do the world a favor and “pull a Chavez” and die of cancer but I can’t do that…not because I have some moral compunction but because all the Chavistas in the line of succession are criminals as well and all of them lack any concern for the Venezuelan people. The only way the suffering will end for the people of Venezuela is when all the Chavistas and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism are gone.

 Then we have France 24 telling us that opposition parties in Venezuela, where there are fears the government may have access to voter data, promised ballot secrecy for the October primaries to determine President (Dictator) Nicolas Maduro’s challenger.

 The head of the opposition group in charge of organizing the primary election, Jesus Maria Casal, said “We are committed to protecting the identity of voters.” He did not specify how this would be done. Voter anonymity will depend on the degree of participation by CNE (electoral council), which is not independent and is, more or less, an extension of the executive branch (Maduro).

 Then we have Yahoo News reporting that two US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US is not discussing a prisoner exchange freeing Alex Saab (The architect of Maduro’s totally fraudulent CLAP government food program and other criminal schemes, currently awaiting trial in the US) for Eyvin Hernandez, a Los Angeles public defender detained (illegally) in Venezuela. A State Department spokesperson indicated a swap for Saab might be possible after the trial had run it’s course.

 And we have Borderland Beat telling us that a well-known anti- narcotics judge, who prefers to remain anonymous, says that the “Cartel of the Suns”, reportedly headed by Diosdado Cabello (The second most powerful man in Venezuela, some think number one), doesn’t operate like cartels in Colombia or Mexico. “It is a dense network of military personnel who do business with narcotics and are tolerated in official bodies for support for the revolution.”

 Javier Mayorca, director of Crimenes sin Castigo, says “Venezuela has few instruments to locate illicit crops since the rupture with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).” Chavez ceased cooperation with the US- DEA in 2005 saying that Venezuela didn’t need any help with the cocaine- trafficking situation. Almost immediately Venezuela became the transit hub for the majority of cocaine shipped from South America to the US and Europe. (Could it be they didn’t want any involvement by the DEA because the Chavistas were in it up to their eyeballs?)

 As we’ve previously told you and as has been reported by Insight Crime, Venezuela is not just a transit hub anymore. They are actively involved in production as well. Also, as has been previously reported, the Maduro regime receives more revenue from illegal trafficking than they do from oil exports. They are a narco- mafia state.

Now lets go Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 2 continued…

 …So what are the alternatives? Doing nothing is not an option and I don’t want to go to the other extreme of armed intervention although “The Great Liberator”, Simon Bolivar, used armed intervention by the British to free the Venezuelans and Colombians from Spanish colonial rule (Another one of those things nobody likes to talk about). Dialogue? You can’t be serious! Dialogue has been tried five times (or is it six…seven…?) with the Chavistas since 2014 and has failed miserably as the first thing on the list, free and fair elections monitored by independent international groups, is a non-starter for Chavismo. With Maduro’s 5% approval rating his party, PSUV, would lose in dramatic fashion, as they did in 2015. That pretty much leaves us with sanctions in the hope that they will financially strangle the Maduro regime to the point where he can’t buy the loyalty of the military any longer and will be forced to step down or be forced out by internal pressure from his own party or by demonstrations.

 There is one more thing that not many people are talking about, except yours truly, and I alluded to it earlier. If none of this works out Maduro is still screwed but unfortunately the Venezuelan people are screwed with him. It’s the bond holders. Once again, we will have to leave the details of this scenario for later as it’s complicated but the only thing that has delayed the bond holders thus far has been the hope of a change of government so they could renegotiate the debt. If that doesn’t happen, and it doesn’t look like it will, the bond vultures will swoop in and there will be nothing left but bones.

 Summary : Like it or not, we live in a sound bite world and people are prone to irresponsibly parrot anything that supports their views without bothering to check the facts. It’s easy to see with even the most superficial amount of fact-checking that Venezuela was suffering long before sanctions were initiated, that non-individual sanctions weren’t used until the Chavistas had every opportunity to address the horrific conditions they imposed on their people, and options other than sanctions (like dialogue) simply allow the Chavistas to remain in power and more atrocities are committed against the Venezuelan people and more Venezuelans die.

 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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