An Easy Call

 First up in today’s session we have BNN Bloomberg with the headline “Venezuela’s Economic Recovery Halts With First Quarter Slump”. That pretty much says it all.

 Venezuela’s economy sank 8.3% in the first quarter according to the Venezuela Observatory Of Finance (The government doesn’t publish GDP numbers, or hardly any numbers, unless they’re good and support the Chavista narrative, which is usually “This is the year of the Revolution’s economic miracle”)

 Angel Alvarado, director of the Venezuela Observatory Of Finance, said “We’ve lost the growth we experienced in the last seven quarters.” OK, so seven quarters of economic growth, albeit minimal, is over… but what preceded that seven quarters?

 That would be an unprecedented eight consecutive YEARS of economic contraction (we call it “recession”) due to the policies of the economically illiterate, Nicolas Maduro, and the Chavista’s 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. (It’s not just me saying he’s economically illiterate. When he came up with his “economic overhaul” and new currency in 2017 he boasted that “no economist or anyone from the business sector had any input!”)

 Well, we tried to tell ya’! We kept calling Venezuela’s rebound a “fragile recovery” even when Credit Suisse predicted 20% growth for last year, which turned out to be closer to between 7-8 %.

 When Maduro listened to the two guys from Ecuador that were responsible for fellow socialist country Ecuador’s economic turnaround things got at least marginally better. But, Maduro couldn’t help being Maduro. Remember, during the down years he was repeatedly advised by his two staunchest allies, and largest creditors, China and Russia, and he didn’t pay any attention to them.

 Maduro stopped listening to the two guys that obviously knew what they were talking about, having done this before, and started doing the things (again) that caused the eight consecutive years of recession, called by most economists the greatest economic collapse in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

 Turning away from what was working, he went back to what he knew, what fit his ideology, and that was attacking the business sector (which China repeatedly told him was a bad idea) and taxing transactions in foreign currency/ cryptocurrency, which slowed the de facto dollarization that had allowed the recovery and lowered inflation (which has come roaring back after a four year bout of hyperinflation, the second longest such period on record).

 Some people just can’t handle prosperity…although what does he care? He’ll just blame US imperialism, colonialism, interventionism, and of course those greedy capitalists. I would like to take credit for my prognosticating skills but this was an easy call.

 Next up we have The White House, with National Security Council spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, informing us that principal Deputy National Security Advisor, John Finer, was leading the delegation to Colombia for the international conference on Venezuela along with two other high-level officials. By the way, this was announced a couple of days ago but nobody, us included, seemed very interested in reporting it.

 OK, so we have high-level participation from the US, Colombia, and representatives from various Latin American and European countries, not to mention the Venezuela opposition and whomever the Maduro regime chooses to represent them meeting on the sidelines.

 With all the build up to this, does anybody really think anything substantive will come out of it? I didn’t think so.

 Oh, and remember the stories about our boy, Juan Guaido, opposition leader and former “interim president” of Venezuela, crossing the Venezuela border with Colombia with the intent of meeting delegates at the summit in Bogota, only to be unceremoniously shown the door and is now in Miami?

 Well, Daily Mail tells us that Colombia President, Gustavo Petro, denies expelling the opposition leader saying “Mr. Guaido was not expelled and it’s better this lie does not appear in politics”.

 Uhh, OK…but if it’s a “political lie” it was put out there by the Colombia Interior Minister who said Mr. Guaido was escorted to the airport in Bogota and put on a plane to Miami because he entered Colombia “inappropriately”.

 Before we move on, I gotta’ say, the big “summit” in Bogota to address the Venezuela situation was slated to take place Tuesday and Wednesday. There was a whole lotta’ build up and drama associated with it but now that it’s happened we seem hard pressed to find anything about the substance of the conference. I guess it’s one of those United Nations type deals. All these delegates travel to a location on their respective taxpayer’s dimes and all we seem to get out of it is everyone telling us how constructive it was and they’re looking forward to the next meeting. Sometimes they even form a committee…or a “blue ribbon” committee…or, better yet, a “blue ribbon select” committee. I can hardly wait for the next one.

 Then we have Hart Energy telling us that Latin America only contributed 8.3% of the world’s GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions annual total, according to a whitepaper issued by IGU, OLADE, and ARPEL, all energy-related organizations.

 There was no mention as to what percentage of global industry is represented by Latin America. I know it sounds very environmentally conscious, that 8.3% number, but without the corresponding percentage of the world’s industry this is basically meaningless.

 As an aside, it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen an update on the number of Venezuelan migrants that have fled the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 The 7.1 million number that put Venezuela in the top spot as the country with the largest number of migrants and refugees in the world hasn’t been updated in about six months despite continuing stories of Venezuelans leaving the country by the thousands (daily). Am I the only one curious about this? Have we hit 8 million yet?

 Then we have US News reporting that the IMF (International Monetary Fund) released it’s country by country inflation projections for 2023. Any guesses as to what country tops the list? That would be Venezuela with inflation projected at 400% for 2023. FYI, the next closest was perpetual economic basket case Zimbabwe at 172%.

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Monday with another installment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole as well as more current news. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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