Kool-Aid Drinkers

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a bit but first…Law 360 reports that a dozen US House Democrats wrote the Biden administration seeking an assessment of the conditions needed to pull back on certain sanctions citing the “indiscriminate and counterproductive impacts” of sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the Trump administration.

 OK, this is for the House Democrats and all you “anti-sanctions Kool-Aid Drinkers” out there…The reason the Venezuelan people are mired in poverty lacking food, medicine, reliable access to electricity and water, and continue to flee Venezuela in the largest migration in the history of the Western Hemisphere is not the “indiscriminate and counterproductive impacts” of sanctions. It is the “indiscriminate and counterproductive  impacts” of the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 The Venezuelan people have been starving and lacking medicine since 2014 (three years before Trump’s first individual sanctions and five years before sanctioning the oil business).

 The collapse of the healthcare system and basic services was caused by Chavista policies and corruption that started with Hugo Chavez and continue under Nicolas Maduro.

 The Chavistas have money coming in like the approximately $10 billion per year they receive from their illicit drug trafficking operations but none of that revenue is used to help the Venezuelan people. The Maduro regime continues to send oil and gasoline to Cuba when that revenue could be used to help the people instead of to solidify the Chavistas grip on power.

 Since the Biden administration relaxed sanctions allowing the export of Venezuelan oil to the US and Europe the Maduro regime has taken no steps toward the restoration of democracy, the rule of law, and free and fair elections and continues to violate their citizen’s Human Rights on a daily basis.

 I know you want to blame Donald Trump for this but “It just ain’t so”. There is no reason to further relax sanctions and I would argue the sanctions previously eased, on conditions that have not been met,  should be re-imposed…Period!

 Then we have Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting with the headline, “As Venezuela Mends Ties With Latin Neighbors, Western Media Turns Up The Propaganda”.

 The article contends that statements by the presidents of Chile and Uruguay following Brazil’s president Lula’s recent summit were mischaracterized (they were critical of the presidents of Brazil and Argentina calling the situation in Venezuela “a narrative” and not the humanitarian disaster that has been created by the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism) and voiced their support for the lifting of sanctions against Venezuela.

 The alleged “conspirators” in the media included New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, BBC, Reuters, AP, Bloomberg, The Economist, Miami Herald, Le Monde, and even Al Jazeera.

 Funny, there wasn’t a list of “reliable sources”…you know…those owned by the Venezuela government…or maybe the Iranians?

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 17 continued…

 …For both the children and teachers it’s not hard to figure out why they’re not in the classroom. It’s all about money and food (except for the basics like power and water). The adults, parents and teachers alike, don’t earn enough to buy hardly anything…food, medicine, clothing, cleaning supplies, personal care items… nothing! Instead of being in school, teachers are trying to find their next meal. Students are trying to help their parents find their next meal. When the government supplied meals to the children parents would make it a priority to get their kids to school if for no other reason than to get the children a meal but now…why bother?

 This one is a bit of a reach but I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s the UN (United Nations) resolution ratified in 2005. It pertains to four items, among them crimes against humanity, and is called the “Responsibility to Protect”. It states that the UN may intervene when a government is committing crimes against humanity. 190 countries signed off on this (including Venezuela). There is currently an ICC (International Criminal Court) investigation into Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro regime, including high-ranking Chavistas, and Maduro is named. The preliminary investigation was slow-walked by the former ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, a known Maduro apologist, for years but when she stepped down (and even she recommended the investigation go forward) the new Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan, opened an official investigation almost immediately. Investigations by the ICC take years and even if they find that violations and/or crimes were (are) committed by the Chavistas it’s unclear what action(s) would be taken. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on the UN to invoke the Responsibility to Protect before such time, and probably not after, but the possibility, no matter how remote, is still out there.

 We’ve dealt a lot with 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism’s destruction of the Venezuelan economy. Each year since Maduro took power he proclaimed the coming year as the year of “The Revolution’s Economic Miracle” and projected a huge boost in productivity. Each year production declined and GDP contracted for eight consecutive years.

 My personal favorite was 2017. That was the year that Maduro, in addition to the usual claims of an economic rebound, laid out his plan to recover production. I know, it’s hard to beat solutions like urban farming on the rooftops of Caracas or that Venezuelans shouldn’t view their cute little bunnies as pets but as two kilos of meat, but this was a comprehensive plan. It was called the 15 Motors of Productivity. It was hailed as the strategy that would finally allow “The Revolution” to win the “economic war” being waged against them.

 Each category such as agricultural, industrial, technological, etc. was referred to as “a motor of productivity” and a chief was assigned and committees were formed. Maduro loves committees and ministries. Chavez had 11 ministries and Maduro, well, we stopped counting at 32. Anyway… Tareck El Aissami, Maduro’s ex-VP, was put in charge of the project and all chiefs would report to him. You know him…the guy under indictment in the US with all the ties to drug trafficking and terrorism. He was also the guy put in charge of restructuring Venezuela’s debt, forgetting that due to sanctions he was not permitted to talk to the bondholders. Sounds like just the guy for an economic turnaround project.

 After all the fanfare and photo ops there was a period where the “15 Motors” were referred to almost constantly. To this day they are still referenced on official government websites, however, after the initial media blitz, the whole thing…well.. it just kinda’ disappeared. No announcements from the chiefs, Tareck, Maduro, nothing. As we know, production continued it’s downward spiral.

 More tomorrow….

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