Maybe...If It Worked!

We’ll get to our Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a sec but first…Reuters reports Venezuelans are battling fast rising utility bills as the government has cut subsidies for electricity and water leaving many to pay 1/3 to 1/2 of their monthly income for basic services.

 FYI, in my 12 years living in Venezuela I never even paid $1 a month for electricity and I ran three air conditioners all day, every day.

 Now, without oil revenue, the Maduro regime is forcing Venezuelans to pay for services they have become accustomed to receiving for free, or close to it, including garbage collection and state internet along with electricity and water. With the minimum wage at $5 a month there isn’t much wiggle room.

 According to BCV (Venezuela Central Bank), prices for basic services rose 325% in the last year and government telecom and internet service is up 1,000%.

 Most of the Venezuelans,  at least those earning more than the minimum wage, when asked if they could handle the higher prices had the same response…”Maybe…if it worked!”

 Then we have the Denver Post with this headline, “Hundreds of migrants are arriving in Denver, stretching the city’s resources… What’s the long term plan?” Mayor Michael Hancock says federal dollars are needed to help the city handle impacts of the “hemispheric migration crisis”.

 Two quick things…first, is there anywhere in the US that’s not impacted by the migrant crisis? (Hint : The answer is no)

 Also, and this is another “Welcome to the party” kinda’ thing”, Denver feels overwhelmed by hundreds of migrants…OMG! Much smaller communities in south Texas are dealing with thousands entering their areas daily!

 Then we have Morning Star telling us that The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) accused the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of attacking it to “neutralize it’s role in the social struggles”.

 PCV general secretary, Oscar Figuera, said PSUV is attempting to set up a fake communist party to undermine it. We have seen the Maduro regime use this tactic against the Venezuela opposition in the past so it’s hardly surprising.

 Maduro accuses PCV of trying to “divide the social revolution” as they ran several candidates in the last parliamentary elections against PSUV candidates.

 For guys that profess to be in favor of “free and fair elections” they really don’t like competition. That might explain the rise in the number of PCV members killed in the last year.

 Now, let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 12 continued…

 …When the opposition swept to victory in the legislative elections of 2015 the appointment of Moreno as head of the TSJ would become crucial to Maduro. He would lead and the other judges would follow. The pattern would be repeated time and again. Maduro would issue a decree and the TSJ would ratify said decree as constitutional no matter how blatantly unconstitutional it might be, beginning with Maduro’s decree powers themselves. His “emergency powers” were required by law to be renewed by the National Assembly. When the opposition took control of the National Assembly Maduro began renewing the “emergency powers” himself (even though, as previously stated, he denied there was a humanitarian emergency in Venezuela) and the TSJ ruled his decision was constitutional.

 In 2015 the TSJ disallows the election results of the four MPs taking away the opposition’s super-majority.

 In 2016 international organizations G-7, UNASUR, OAS, MERCOSUR, and even The Pope called for health-related emergency aid to be admitted to Venezuela. The assembly passed it’s health emergency law and the aid was denied by Maduro citing sovereignty issues and, just as in 2019, said he was concerned over the quality of the food and medicine in the proposed aid. (FYI, the CLAP government food program boxes, Maduro’s fraudulent scheme, routinely contains items past their expiration date) The TSJ upheld Maduro’s decision ruling that the Assembly’s declaration infringed on executive powers. Maduro would allow shipments from Cuba, Iran, and China but it was very limited as evidenced by the 85% shortage of medicine in 2016, 2017, 2018, and up to 90% in 2019.

 In 2016 a National Assembly commission declared 13 TSJ judges appointed by the outgoing Chavista MPs should be dismissed because procedure wasn’t followed according to the Constitution and three more judges were unfit to serve. The TSJ ruled the declaration totally invalid due to the Assembly’s standing with the court and since they had no super-majority powers (and round and round we go).

 In 2016 and 2017 TSJ sentenced five opposition mayors to prison. While the rulings were denounced they were not challenged.

 In 2017, during the height of the protests, repression, calls for dialog etc. Maduro called for establishment of a constituent assembly through snap elections. Remember, the protests were sparked when the TSJ assumed (then reversed itself) the legitimate assembly’s powers. While the Constitution provides for establishment of such a “constituent assembly” (Chavez did it), it requires passage of a referendum before election of members can be called for and the Constituent Assembly (ANC) can be convened. Maduro’s decision to bypass the constitutionally mandated process was upheld by the TSJ.

 In 2017 when the TSJ assumed the National Assembly’s powers then backed off they still prohibited the assembly from “declaring political responsibility” and prohibited “acts that alter public order”. Uhh, I’m no constitutional scholar but I think that means you can’t say “this mess is Maduro’s fault” and you can’t protest.

 More tomorrow….

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