We Already Knew That

 We’ll get started with this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment, El Dorado in just a bit but first… we finally got some news on the summit regarding the Venezuela situation. Atlantic Council had an article focused on two noteworthy (or not) events in Colombia.

 The first is the news that Colombian leftist (Marxist) President, Gustavo Petro, fired 7 of his cabinet ministers including his market-friendly Finance Minister (What a surprise! A Marxist gets rid of a free market guy.) This raises questions about the sustainability of his agenda moving forward, especially as a major player in advancing a democratic solution in Venezuela.

 This brings us to the actual summit, which included EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, high-level US officials, a Brazilian presidential advisor, and decision makers from various countries. There was a lot of build up to the summit and it appears some in the international community are waking up to the fact that Venezuela is a regional and international problem.

 We here at TFT were skeptical about the prospects of the summit accomplishing anything of significance other than laying the groundwork for the next conference to waste more of everyone’s time and money. Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Alvaro Leyva (who survived the cabinet shake-up) identified the three points of consensus.

1/ A solution to Venezuela’s crisis requires a timetable for free and fair elections…Uhh… We already knew that.

 It’s worth noting that EUs Josep Borrell, who sent an electoral observation mission to Venezuela for their parliamentary elections last fall, which were neither free nor fair, reiterated his 23 recommendations for a path to free and fair elections, none of which will really be implemented.

 2/ Negotiations to resolve the crisis are an urgent priority and implementing a humanitarian accord is the best chance to build momentum…Uhh… We already knew that.

 The Maduro regime has has already demanded that the previously agreed-upon UN-managed $3.2 billion humanitarian fund, consisting of potentially unfrozen assets, must be operational before they talk to anybody about anything. (Along with their other demands and conditions to resume talks with Venezuela’s opposition in Mexico.

 3/ Agreements should be paired with clear US offers of sanctions relief in order to incentivize progress…Uhh… We already knew that.

 Those offers and incentives are already out there and, so far, we have no indication Nicolas Maduro will take any of the “concrete steps” required to continue the sanctions relief already granted.

 Atlantic Council did note as significant that Gustavo Petro, who has previously issued mixed messages on Venezuela and the Maduro regime, signed off on this. OK, so he signed off on three things we already knew and were worded in such a way as to give him an out when he talks to his Marxist comrade Maduro.

 In case you missed it, Fox News reported that the Biden administration has a plan to deal with the expected migrant surge at the US southern border when Title 42, which allows for rapid deportation of migrants who illegally enter the US, goes away, which is happening in a matter of days.

 Biden’s geniuses say they will handle to problem by taking asylum applications in the countries of origin. Then Fox News also reported that there were 15,000 encounters with migrants at the Texas/Mexico border in the last week, 90% of them from Venezuela.

 The US has no diplomatic presence in Venezuela, no embassy, consulate, nor substitute. All US consular services pertaining to Venezuela are handled through the US embassy in Bogota, Colombia. So, how are those thousands of asylum requests from Venezuelans going to be handled? All those thousands of Venezuelan migrants aren’t going to walk to Bogota, they’re going to walk north, to the US southern border.

 Now, lets head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 9/ El Dorado…

 Chavismo has managed to destroy healthcare, the national oil company, the power grid and access to fresh water, the currency (three times), food security, transportation security, and the hopes and dreams of an entire generation. In the interest of being an “equal opportunity destroyer”, Maduro created “The Mining Arc” causing the rape of the environment and simultaneous exploitation and slaughter of indigenous peoples. Since they basically destroyed everything else in the country they certainly couldn’t leave the environment and indigenous peoples alone. If you haven’t heard about this you’re not alone. It’s puzzling how an American company can let a few drops of oil hit the ground in Western Nebraska or an American soldier can violate someones civil rights in places like Afghanistan or Iraq and it’s all over the news yet Maduro can poison rivers and kill the Pemon people and other indigenous groups and the environmentalists and Human Rights activists are largely silent (although the Human Rights people are waking up a little). Please, allow me to enlighten you.

 As the economy collapsed around them many Venezuelans had to make a geographic change to survive. Millions left the country causing the largest migratory crisis in the history of the Western Hemisphere. For thousands of people unable or unwilling to leave the country they only knew they had to go somewhere, do something. Similar to the American west in the 1800s the best option seemed to be heading to the mining region(s). For those who caused it, the Chavistas, this also seemed like a good idea. As we have seen previously, the Maduro regime, in it’s desperate search for money to pay the military, explored all options and exhausted all options. I’ve heard them compared to meth addicts who have already gone through all their money, sold everything they had of value, and then began destroying the house they lived in so they could rip the copper wiring out of the walls and get what they could to buy themselves a little more time. A perfect analogy.

 Southern and Eastern Venezuela, the areas bordering Brazil and Guyana, on the fringes of the Amazon, is a remote and in many cases a spectacularly beautiful region. Colonial explorers traveled up the Orinoco river searching for the mythical city of gold, El Dorado. Unlike the gold rush days of the American old west, where huge gold strikes would cause everyone from everywhere to descend on areas where it seemed gold was just “lying around for the taking” (which we all know was never true), the gold in this region, while plentiful, is dispersed over a large area.

 More tomorrow….

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