The Big Picture

 We’ll begin our session with a little something from WPR (World Politics Review). It was a very lengthy article titled “What’s Ahead For Venezuela’s Crisis”. We didn’t really learn anything new but it was a good opportunity to look at the big picture regarding Venezuela. Here are the highlights (low lights)…

 1/ The political and humanitarian crises that have sent Venezuela into a death spiral in recent years have now spilled over into neighboring countries.

 2/ There is no end in sight.

 3/ …”it’s citizens, who are already living in the most dire conditions outside of a war zone in recent memory…”  (We here at TFT are fond of saying…There has been no drought, natural disaster, or war. This is a man- made disaster, a Chavista- made disaster.)

 4/ President (dictator) Nicolas Maduro has shown more interest in consolidating power than making needed structural changes.

 5/ …growing shortages of food and basic supplies (they’re not affordable to the average Venezuelan and the minimum wage is under $6 A MONTH), widespread power outages, and alarming rates of malnutrition… (They missed the lack of access to fresh water, which is the basis of civilization)

 6/ The healthcare system is decimated.

 7/ Maduro is more entrenched now than ever after Juan Guaido and the opposition failed to oust him, despite widespread support, in 2019.

 8/ Due to Venezuela’s migration crisis, 7.1 million and counting (the largest in the history of the Western Hemisphere), it’s now a major regional problem with thousands continuing to leave daily. (It’s worth noting that most of the countries in the region condemned the US not having an open border policy toward migrants but have now instituted controls for immigration)

 9/ Venezuela is the global geopolitical focal point in the Western Hemisphere with the Maduro regime backed by Russia, China, and Iran while the opposition is backed by the US and EU (European Union).

 10/ The return of leftist presidents in Chile, Colombia, and Brazil has frayed the regional consensus against the Maduro regime…

 Stop! I can’t help myself. I know these leftist/ Marxist/ socialist types stick together but they need to rethink support for Nicolas Maduro. Aside from the thousand other reasons to want Maduro and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism gone from Venezuela, here’s one fact nobody should ignore. The right-wing Pinochet regime in Chile was widely reviled, and rightfully so, for his security forces committing over 3,000 extrajudicial killings during his 17 years in power. Nicolas Maduro’s security forces have averaged 1,400 extrajudicial killings EVERY YEAR during his 10 years in power! If Pinochet was a bad guy for killing 3,000 then how bad is Maduro for killing 14,000? I hope the Democratic Socialists of America (AOC is a member), who support the Maduro regime, are listening. That will do it for “the big picture”. Moving on…

 Then we have Miami Herald telling us that US President, Joe Biden, is open to increasing pressure on Venezuela if Nicolas Maduro fails to take concrete steps toward democratic elections. “We’d like to see more” said John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, and said they had not yet seen concrete steps taken.

 This comes as Colombia’s leftist (Marxist) President, Gustavo Petro, asked that sanctions against Venezuela be lifted, on behalf of his Marxist comrade, Nicolas Maduro.

 Biden officials say the administration has already demonstrated it’s willingness to ease sanctions noting it’s decision last fall to grant sale and production licenses to Chevron after Maduro agreed to resume talks in Mexico with Venezuela’s opposition (which the Maduro regime promptly backed out of).

 Kirby continued, “We’ve long been clear that we would review our sanctions policies in response to constructive steps by the Maduro regime.” So what, if any, are those “constructive steps”?

 As previously mentioned, The Chavistas backed out of the Mexico negotiations with the Venezuela opposition, demanding sanctions against the Venezuela government be lifted. They also demanded the release of Alex Saab (architect of Maduro’s totally fraudulent CLAP government food program and other schemes, currently awaiting trial in the US on money laundering charges after being extradited from Cape Verde, Africa) as a condition to resume negotiations with the opposition. They also demanded that the previously agreed-upon UN-managed $3.2 billion humanitarian fund consisting of potentially unfrozen assets be operational as a condition for resuming talks. (These guys do a lot of “demanding”) Oh, I almost forgot the demand that Argentina return the Emtrasur 747 cargo plane, still being held, pending US claims that the sale from Iran’s Mahan Air was in violation of sanctions, as a condition of resuming negotiations. So what is that…four demands now? Sounds like they’re really anxious to resume those talks about free and fair elections huh?

 As for the Biden administration’s tough talk, I’ll believe it when I see it. The Biden administration has shown a propensity for a lot of tough talk with very little follow through…unless it’s tough talk about MAGA Republicans or climate change.

 And now for the three most dangerous words in the English language..,”I’ve been thinking”. Well, Ive been thinking…say what you will about Hugo Chavez, he sure was remarkably prescient in choosing Nicolas Maduro to succeed him as president (dictator) of Venezuela. He has presided over the worst decade in the history of Venezuela for the Venezuelan people…but, he has kept the Chavistas in power…Viva la Revolucion!

 More tomorrow….


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