A Wrap On Migration

 We’ll get to this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a few but first…We have a timely follow up on last week’s Rabbit Hole piece on migration with an article from Daily Kos to put a wrap on our migration coverage. They put the number of Venezuelan migrants at 7.2 million although they didn’t cite a source so we’ll need confirmation on that one.

 It’s been six months since we’ve seen an update on the 7.1 million number of Venezuelan migrants which put Venezuela ahead of Ukraine and Syria for the number one spot on the migrant list. They did, however, remind us of some important things to remember.

 In 1998, the year Venezuela elected Hugo Chavez as president, Venezuela produced 3.5 million bpd (barrels per day) of oil and was the wealthiest country in South America.

 Oil production in 2020 was 337,000 bpd, has since rebounded to about 700,000 bpd, and Venezuela is the poorest country in South America. That’s a good “in a nutshell” view of what Chavismo has done to Venezuela.

 The latest survey by ENCOVI, National Poll of Living Conditions, put the share of households in Venezuela living below the poverty line at 81.5%, which is actually an improvement.

 The same ENCOVI poll revealed that Venezuela is among the most unequal countries in the world with the top 10% earning more than 70 times the income of the poorest 10%. Besides fleeing the rampant poverty in Venezuela migrants are trying to escape the collapse of basic services like electricity and water, an 85% shortage of medicine, constant Human Rights violations, extrajudicial killings, and the list goes on…

 They also delved into where all the migrants have gone. Of the 545,000 Venezuelans in the US less than 10% have arrived in the last decade but in the last two years several hundred thousand have attempted entry at the US southern border.

 The reason for the drastic increase is simple. The countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have reached the limit (or are beyond the limit) of their ability to absorb Venezuela migrants as most are poor, many in ill health, and arrive with only what they can carry.

 They failed to mention that most of the countries that originally put out the welcome mat for Venezuelan migrants and criticized the US for not having an open immigration policy now have restrictions on Venezuelan migrants.

 In 2019 the Brookings Institution warned that the Venezuelan migrant/refugee crisis was likely to become the largest and most under-funded in modern history. They subsequently updated the report saying international funding per Syrian migrant amounted to $3,150 while just $265 was spent per Venezuelan.

 The IMF (International Monetary Fund) estimates the number of Venezuelan migrants will be 8.4 million by 2025, roughly 25% of Venezuela’s population in 2015.

 We have been pounding the table about this for years now and although the international community is starting to wake up, based on Venezuelan migrants receiving less than 10% of the aid given to Syrian migrants, they have a lot of catching up to do.

 While we applaud the Daily Kos for drawing attention to the Venezuela migrant crisis, we remain critical of the fact that they, like most who report on the issue, place far too much blame on US sanctions as the cause for the woes of the Venezuelan people. We have debunked this myth numerous times and will continue to do so.

 The cause of the Venezuelan’s suffering is the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Until the Chavistas and their lack of coherent economic policies, disdain for democracy and the Venezuela Constitution, and total disregard for the rule of law are gone there is no relief in sight for the people of Venezuela.

 Now let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 14/ The Three-Headed Monster…

 Fernando Alban, an opposition politician, plunged to his death after only three days in custody. The official cause of death was suicide. The first “official report” said the subject appeared despondent, asked the officers watching him to use the bathroom, and threw himself out of the bathroom window of the 10th floor of the holding facility. The report was soon revised when they were informed that there was no window in the 10th floor bathroom.

 Captain Rafael Acosta, a Venezuela naval officer, was wheeled into court for a hearing after a week in custody. The judge suspended the hearing after Captain Acosta appeared unresponsive and could only weakly utter one word, “Help”. He couldn’t move, had swollen hands and feet, many lacerations, bloody fingernails, and presumably other injuries which were not visible. He was remanded to the prison medical wing and a day later was dead. The initial “official report” listed suicide as the cause of death. The officers said he sustained his injuries when he threw himself off a balcony. Again, the report was soon revised when they were informed that his injuries were not consistent with a fall. There were also conflicting reports by Chavista officials that he died in court, he died before being wheeled into court, etc.

 The only thing unusual about these two stories is that there were actually details made public. Similar suspicious circumstances are rumored and reported all the time in Venezuela. The reason investigations either go nowhere or inquiries are more or less forgotten is simple…fear. Fear of what exactly…? That would be the Three-Headed Monster. No, I’m not talking about the GNB, PNB, and the colectivos (National Guard, National Police, and the government-backed gangs on motorcycles). I’m talking about SEBIN, DGCIM, and FAES, the three main government security services. The secret police.

 More tomorrow….

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