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 We’ll get to our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment in just a bit but first…Rest Of World had a piece that is “proof positive” of something we’ve been saying for a while. The Maduro regime isn’t interested in investigating/solving crimes unless they trend on social media.

For nearly two years Maria Virginia Montiel struggled with the legal system. The Venezuelan publicist accused influential radio broadcaster, Lenin Rojas, of rape. She claimed she dealt with all manner of irregularities in the process, which shouldn’t be surprising due to his connections with the government.

 In short, she got nowhere…that is until social media influencer, Irrael Gomez, was tagged on a post along with Attorney General, Tarek William Saab. As the post went viral the authorities jumped into action.

 Saab accused Rojas of “lascivious acts and harassment and Rojas was subsequently detained. The lack of action by the government unless there is a PR benefit for them is obvious.

 This has spawned a group of social media influencers turned social justice warriors and not just “social” justice, that now constitutes a “win-win” situation for both the victims and the influencers.

 The victims get an opportunity for justice (although justice is not ensured) and the influencers  see an increase in followers. There is still the possibility (probability?) that corrupt government officials can derail the process of justice but at least, failing a legal judgement, victims can see their abusers vilified by civil society. Once again, a free market-style solution success where 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism fails.

 Then we have Law 360 telling us that the Biden administration’s decision late last month to green light a potential auction of Citgo shares is good news for defunct Canadian mining company, Crystallex, even as other creditors holding the lion’s share of Venezuela’s massive debt, estimated at more than $175 billion, still face a long road ahead.

 Now we can see why those six creditors filed that emergency motion to keep the process moving forward that will result in the auction of Citgo shares to repay creditors.

 Citgo is the last of Venezuela’s foreign assets that’s really worth anything, an estimated $8-9 billion, so even after Citgo is carved up there will still be over $165 billion owed to creditors with no viable means to satisfy those debts. When the music stops there are going to be a lot of people without chairs.

 Oh, and if you’re thinking the IMF (International Monetary Fund) might bail them out, think again. Years before his death, Hugo Chavez severed ties with the IMF not wanting to be associated with those “greedy capitalist oligarchs”.

 China won’t bail them out as they’re still trying to get paid on past oil for loan deals, at one time totaling $60 billion.

 Russia can’t bail them out as they have that “special operation” going on in Ukraine.

 That leaves only the Iranians, Maduro’s new BFFs, who have economic problems of their own (not to mention social/political unrest). Nobody is coming to the rescue of the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 Venezuela, under Chavismo, is a failed narco- state run by a corrupt “kleptocracy” of serial Human Rights violators that makes more money from it’s trafficking operations than from PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company), once the envy of the entire oil producing world (pre-Chavismo). There is no future, no end to the suffering of the Venezuelan people, until Nicolas Maduro and the Chavistas are gone.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 11 – Blatant Disregard…

 Nicolas Maduro was elected president of Venezuela after the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013. The election was extremely close and there have been widespread allegations that his opponent, Henrique Capriles, actually won. For our purposes let’s assume Maduro actually won fair and square. The presidential term in Venezuela is six years and Maduro demonstrated early on that it would be a long six years. The “Guarimba” of 2014 left over 40 dead and hundreds wounded as people protested food shortages and Maduro let it be known that he would respond to protesters with bullets and jail time. Opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, who called for peaceful, I repeat PEACEFUL, protests was jailed for inciting violence and instability. He spent over three years in prison and a couple more under house arrest before escaping to the Spanish Embassy under their protection. I used to joke “If you think this is bad just wait a couple of years and we’ll look back on this as the good old days”. It turns out that those days were the height of Maduro’s popularity.

 In 2015 Venezuela had elections for the National Assembly, similar to our congressional elections. Although Maduro’s popularity was on the decline it was widely though it would be difficult for the opposition to overcome the Chavista political machine. The dop in oil prices had already hit but with the elections coming up Maduro borrowed $5 billion from the Chinese so the Chavistas could deliver the expected largess.

 Then came the big December surprise. With a high voter turnout of over 74% the opposition swept to victory in 112 of 167 races. This gave them 67% of the seats in the National Assembly. With a 2/3 super majority, just barely, they would have wide latitude to effect sweeping changes including appointments (and firings) in the TSJ, Venezuela’s Supreme Court, and even a possible presidential recall election. Optimism was high that after a decade and a half of Chavismo change was in the air.

 More tomorrow….













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