Urgent! Chavista Style

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a sec but first…Reuters reports that Venezuela President (dictator) Nicolas Maduro suspended a committee he had appointed to restructure PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) under the supervision of Tareck El Aissami, the Oil Minister who resigned last week.

 Maduro ended the 2020 decree that created the committee to adopt “urgent measures to protect the industry from imperialist aggression”. It’s functions were expanded lest year. Maduro said a new restructuring process must begin! This is a good example of why 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism will never succeed in bringing (returning) prosperity to Venezuela. Did you catch it?

 The 2020 decree that created the committee to adopt “urgent measures”… How is it that after almost three years there have been no reports or announcements of any “urgent measures” being adopted?

 You also have to wonder that if Maduro says “A new restructuring process must begin!” when did the prior process actually get started?

 It’s also worth noting that the guy in charge of the 2020 restructuring committee for PDVSA, Tareck El Aissami, is the same guy Maduro put in charge of restructuring Venezuela’s debt after they defaulted on their bonds (for the first time in the history of Venezuela) in 2017 even though, as previously reported, he was prohibited by sanctions from communicating with the holders of Venezuela’s debt.

 So…we don’t have any restructuring of PDVSA… We don’t have any restructuring of Venezuela’s debt… but we do have plenty of “anti-imperialist” and “anti-capitalist” and “anti-colonialist” rhetoric. I’ll say it again…”Viva La Revolucion!” Now that’s urgent! Chavista style.

Then we have our friends at Caracas Chronicles with a piece that asks the question, “Will Maduro And His Cronies Ever Stand Trial In A Venezuela Courtroom, Never Mind Be Convicted?”

 They remind us that Argentina remains the only Latin American country to have tried it’s own former dictators. They also point out that when Argentina put Jorge Videla on trial back in the ’80s his military junta had been in power for 7 years while the Chavistas have been entrenched for well over two decades.

 Another factor to consider is Argentina’s history of judicial independence while Venezuela under Chavismo is totally lacking an independent judiciary and Venezuela’s TSJ (Supreme Court) is commonly acknowledged as simply an extension of the executive branch. (Don’t forget that at one time Venezuela’s courts had reviewed almost 50,000 cases and petitions against Chavismo and the record was… wait for it… 50,000 to zero!)

 The folks at Caracas Chronicles contend that Venezuela’s best chance to see justice served in the case of Nicolas Maduro and other Chavista criminals lies with the ICC (International Criminal Court) investigation into the Maduro regime’s systematic Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity which could result in a trial in The Hague.

 And we have Digital Journal reporting that Venezuela Interior Minister, Remigio Ceballos, announced that Carlos Enrique Gomez Rodriguez, known as “The Rabbit”, one of Venezuela’s most wanted criminals, has been killed. Gomez Rodriguez was wanted for terrorism, extortion, kidnapping, murder, and other crimes.

 The minister did not divulge how he was killed but suggested it was part of a security operation. In February, following an exchange of gunfire with police, authorities placed a $1 million bounty on his head.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 4 continued…

 …In the brief period in between blackouts, and following the third one, the government’s response to the situation was more focused on where to place the blame rather than on what was being done to fix the problem. Much of it was the same explanation they used for everything that was wrong with the country. “It’s right-wing terrorists” or “Colombian paramilitaries backed by the US” or “It’s a plot by the CIA to bring down The Revolution” and now these took on a new wrinkle. These three explanations, with numerous references to the “imperialist oligarchs”, were behind the “hackers that attacked the Guri dam’s operating system”. They quickly had to change that story when someone informed them that the operating system at Guri was an old analog system that had never been upgraded to digital. You can’t hack an analog system.

 Even the Chavista stranglehold on the media couldn’t contain the facts. They could jail sources inside the country but that wouldn’t erase what they might say (or have said). The main sources for the reality of the situation would come from around the world. Corpolec (government-owned utility company), like PDVSA, had lost many employees due to economic conditions, purges, scapegoating, and fear of future scapegoating. There were also engineers with foreign firms familiar with the complex nature of Guri’s operating system and specifically it’s turbines. They knew what hadn’t been done, what should have been done, and what needed to be done.

 So what really happened? Again, I’ll try not to get too deep in the weeds. As previously stated, Guri provides the majority of electric power in Venezuela (roughly 80%). The massive turbines generate power that leaves on one main line and is then split into three primary lines. Like all power lines, they require constant maintenance to keep both the lines and the ground below clear to prevent physical and fire damage. This simply was neglected. When fire triggered an overheat alarm on one of the three primary lines and the safety system shut it down all that power was diverted to the two remaining lines. They overheated and shut down as well. Now comes the tricky part. To restore service it’s not like you can just flip a circuit breaker. There is a complex process to restarting the turbines, which had shut down as well, and a step by step process for gradually introducing the power load back into the main transmission line and subsequently to the three primary lines. Due to the “brain drain” in recent years Corpolec lacked the technical expertise to properly execute this process. There are four companies globally with the experience and expertise to do a job like this. None of the four were contacted including one that had previously done work at Guri. While nobody would go on record, prevailing wisdom was that the government couldn’t pay COD and nobody with half a brain would extend them credit as they have, and we’ve said this many times, screwed pretty much everyone on the planet, countries and companies alike.

 That left Corpolec with the trial and error method which led to the length of the first blackout as well as the second and third blackouts. If it wasn’t so dire a situation the government’s response would have been (and is) laughable. First it was a hack, then it was a “high tech electromagnetic assault”, then fires set by saboteurs (the usual suspects…CIA, right-wing paramilitaries, etc.). Caracas Chronicles said it best in their mock headline, “There was another big electric failure in Lara and Yaracuy this week. No wild animal has been charged so far.”

 More tomorrow….

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