Problems Of His Own

 We’ll get started with this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole shortly but first… We had a piece last week that was kind of a wrap up of Lula’s summit in Brazilia. The leaders lined up on two sides with Brazil and Argentina leading the side that were, more or less, Maduro apologists. The other side that condemned the Maduro regime for it’s Human Rights violations, the starvation of the Venezuelan people, etc. was led by Uruguay and Chile. (Chile was a bit of a surprise because their president, Boric, is a leftist) We heard nothing from Colombia, who these days is supposed to be among Maduro’s staunchest allies.

 Now we have the Independent telling us why there wasn’t anything from Maduro’s Marxist brother in arms, Colombia President, Gustavo Petro at the summit. It looks like he has problems of his own.

 Petro is keeping a lower-than-normal profile these days as he deals with a corruption scandal involving the nation’s former Ambassador to Venezuela and other problems facing his administration.

 The scandal centers around recordings of Armando Benedetti, the former ambassador, threatening to disclose potentially damaging details of Petro’s 2022 presidential campaign stemming from Benedetti not being given the job of Interior Minister with Petro’s administration.

 The former ambassador alleges that he raised almost $4 million for the campaign and that some of the money came from drug trafficking groups. He says he doesn’t care if everyone in Petro’s inner circle goes down with him. “We’re all going to jail, this whole damn thing will blow up.” Sounds pretty serious to me…maybe Petro should have kept him happy?

 Petro has denied the allegations. Petro’s popularity was already falling before the scandal broke as his administration struggled to control inflation as well as violence in rural areas where ceasefires with two major armed groups have fallen apart recently. That’s a problem faced by many leftists. They get elected because their slogans sound so good on the campaign trail. Then they get elected and they actually have to govern.

 Then we have Reuters reporting that flooding collapsed a gold mine in southern Venezuela killing at least 12 miners, according to local authorities in El Callao, Bolivar state. Another 112 people survived the collapse of the Talevera Mine, located in Maduro’s “Mining Arc”.

 Now we can add the mine collapse to the warnings of widespread environmental damage, Human Rights violations, and destruction of an entire way of life for indigenous peoples in the region.

 And we have Alarabiya News reporting that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, met with Venezuela President (dictator), Nicolas Maduro, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to discuss bilateral relations. It’s worth noting that Maduro only travels to countries where he feels safe from “the long arm of the law”.

 SPA (Saudi Press Agency) reported a lot of PR “happy talk” exchanging of views on various issues of common interest but nothing of substance. It’s really just an opportunity for both men to “thumb their noses” at Joe Biden, who neither of them like, ahead of his Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken’s visit to the Kingdom to meet with various ministers.

 Then we have BN Americas with the headline “Can Venezuela Solve Europe’s Energy Crisis?” The piece was a lengthy interview with Francisco Monaldi, Latin America energy policy expert at Rice University in Houston, Texas. I’ll give you the short form…The answer is NO!

 Now let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 15/ Op-Ed…

 There may be no right of American citizens more misunderstood than the 2nd Amendment. I hear arguments about gun control, both pro and con, all the time especially after a mass shooting. “I have the right to protect my family from intruders” or “There are more mass shootings in the US than anywhere in the world” and so on…and on…and on…I understand where both sides are coming from, especially emotionally, but the most important issue regarding gun control is rarely mentioned…so I’ll mention it here as the situation in Venezuela is the perfect context for this discussion.

 Let me begin by saying that I don’t own a gun, or hunt, or exhibit any of the behavior normally associated with a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I am, however, a life-long fan of history. I feel it’s important to take a good hard look at history, both in a general sense and my personal history. If I know and understand both the facts and the context I can get a grasp of what happened and why it happened, provided I maintain my objectivity, fully knowing that nobody is truly objective. Did you catch that? Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself…trying to prove that I’m objective even about my own objectivity! Anyway…the point is to try and benefit from the successes of the past and avoid repeating the mistakes, again both in a general sense and on a personal level. It’s not easy and can be uncomfortable but it’s necessary.

 That said, the question is, why do we have a 2nd Amendment? What were they thinking about when they came up with the idea and is it still applicable today? “The right to keep and bear arms…” Having read quite a bit about the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, the war itself, and the period after, when the documents upon which our nation was founded were written, as well as the cast of characters involved, I think I have somewhat of an understanding. At least I know enough to know what I don’t know. I love statements like that. It’s one of those “I may not have the answers but at least I’m in touch with the questions” kinda’ deals.

 In my humble (?) opinion, the founding fathers weren’t all that concerned with personal protection when they came up with the idea of guaranteed gun ownership. In fact, it may not have been a consideration at all, simply a by-product of the real reason to ensure the population has access to firearms. And that reason is (was) not to protect ourselves from each other or external factors but to protect ourselves collectively from the government we created.

 More tomorrow….

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