Probing For Treason?
We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in just a few to wrap up this week’s segment but first … BNN Bloomberg reports that Venezuelan authorities announced 11 more arrest warrants in the widening corruption probe at PDVSA (Government-owned oil company) with links to various government agencies implicated as well. One of those arrested was ruling party lawmaker Hugbel Roa who was stripped of his parliamentary immunity this week.
In his former capacity of Technology Minister Roa played a key role in promoting Maduro’s totally fraudulent and totally failed sovereign cryptocurrency, El Petro, which has never achieved widespread usage but Maduro and the Chavistas just won’t let it die. Could Maduro still be holding a grudge against Roa for his part in that fiasco?
Public Prosecutor (Attorney General), Tarek William Saab, says government officials (Roa, Joselit Ramirez, former head of cryptocurrency regulatory agency Sunacrip, and others) will face treason charges in addition to illicit appropriations and money laundering.
I guess since it seems like pretty much all the Chavistas are involved in some form of criminal activity it’s important to differentiate by breaking out the treason charge.
The we have McGill Journal of Political Studies with a piece that went into great detail regarding Maduro’s reliance on the military to remain in power and how he has fragmented the command structure so no individual can gain too much power. Much of the article was stuff we already know but one thing did catch our eye.
We already know that the Venezuela Army has an inordinate number of generals, partly for fragmentation of power purposes and partially for financial reward but here’s a good stat that really drives home the point…
Prior to Maduro’s restructuring of the military the Andean region of Venezuela had 6 generals in charge of 13,000 troops. Now there are 20 generals commanding only 3,000 soldiers. Come on Sarge! I’m no math wiz but isn’t that one general in charge of every 150 men? No wonder a journalist reported seeing a general walk past a group of soldiers at the airport in Caracas and they didn’t even salute!
Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…
Chapter 4 continued…
…Common scenes in Caracas included (and continue to include) people bathing in flooded potholes and collecting water from sewer drains that flow into the Guaire river. As bad as it is using water from these drains it would get worse as these drains dried up and the waste backed up adding to the already dangerous health situation. People everywhere could be seen (and can be seen) carrying buckets, large water bottles, or whatever containers they have. Everybody is going out looking for water or carrying it back if they are lucky enough to find it.
Like many other things in Venezuela the military was tasked with water distribution. Those who can afford it pay about $200 for a 5,000 liter water truck to fill their tank. If you don’t have $200 (The minimum wage is currently under $6 a month) you are at the mercy of the military as to who receives the coveted deliveries. If you are a well connected, loyal Chavista you get priority. If not…well…
The El Avila National Park is also a victim. It’s becoming an ecological disaster as people use it’s mountain streams for bathing, laundry, and toilets.
As if experiencing a fire wasn’t bad enough, firefighters can’t put out fires without water so many have to watch their hopes and dreams go up in flames when the damage could be minimizes with access to water.
Years ago, with the water distribution system failing countrywide, the government (the Chavistas) said it was a priority to meet the UN Millennium Developmental Goals so things weren’t good even under normal circumstances. The deadline was 2015 and the people are still waiting. In 2018, 79% of hospitals reported irregular water service and the problem persists and has gotten progressively worse. The government water utility, Hidrocapital, sometimes cuts water service in areas for up to 48 hours.
With the Tuy pumping system and others not able to come back online quickly due to both the operating energy consumption as well as the threat of grid collapse due to the power surge caused by the restart of these systems the water shortage wouldn’t be resolved anytime soon. But not to worry folks! Maduro announced that the government will supply all the water needed by utilizing delivery by tanker trucks. Aside from the fact that the government can’t even keep a fleet of buses running (only one out of ten buses are currently in operation) the tanker truck solution “ain’t gonna’ cut it”. If you do the math, in order to equal the output of the Tuy pumping system the government would need to deliver three tanker trucks every second (Caracas needs 20,000 liters of water per second). The delivery of the system was down to 13,000 liters per second before the blackout/ water out…then it went to zero! It still hasn’t recovered.
Summary : Each year since Maduro took power he has proclaimed that the coming year would be the “Bolivarian Revolution’s” version of “The Great Leap Forward” and productivity and economic stability were on the way. Each year conditions worsen and, while lamenting that it’s the fault of the usual suspects, he’s assured the people the “The Revolution” would provide prosperity and security for all. The constant barrage of days furloughed and workdays shortened makes increasing productivity a bit difficult. The Chavistas don’t seem to connect the dots between work and productivity. There was plenty of advanced warning on both the power and water situations. The government, after proclaiming these things a priority, did nothing. Here we go again with our broken record…This situation was not cause by outside influences. It is not the result of war. It is not the result of a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster…a Chavista- made disaster.
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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