Playing The Victim

 With no Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment, it’s all current news so let’s do it…I know it’s hard to believe but from time to time the Maduro regime likes to portray itself as the victim. We have Rio Times reporting that Venezuela President (dictator), Nicolas Maduro, expressed concern about “the systematic censorship imposed by major social media on content produced by official media and the government party”. Maduro also stated that there are “popular mobilizations” daily but their activities go unreported.

 Just so we’re clear here, no social media or traditional media outlet wants anything to do with content produced by official media and the government party since their version of events are about as far from the truth as you can get.

 As far as these “popular mobilizations ” (rallies) go, they don’t exist. There are only groups of people paid by the Chavistas or coerced by the Chavistas in transparent attempts to spread their propaganda.

 How do you have a “popular mobilization” when your approval hasn’t been over 15% for as long as anyone can remember and usually trends at about 5%?

 And speaking of victims, VOA reports that RCR (Radio Caracas Radio) has fallen silent for the first time in it’s 93 year history. The station had been broadcasting via You Tube since April, 2019 when Conatel (government telecommunications regulatory agency) shut down it’s signal, without providing a reason.

 Earlier this year CANTV (government-owned phone company) cut their phone service even though all payments were up to date. Then their building was without electricity for 92 days, dependent on a power generator.

 RCR owner, Jaime Nestares, told VOA that the station’s board of directors was alerted to possible actions against RCR members. Nestares said he hopes the closure will be temporary but he cautioned “Is it worth the risk? Losing assets, having our assets seized, having people jailed? Is it worth it?”

 The conglomerate has been under pressure from the government for more than a decade, declining to renew the license for RCTV and forcing the closure of Radio Caracas International.

 At least 285 radio stations have been shut down between 2003 – 2022, not to mention the government-forced closure of TV stations and newspapers. So, who’s the victim? Is it the Chavistas or everybody else (including the Venezuelan people)?

 Then we have Reuters reporting that Venezuela oil exports for June rose 8% to above 700,000 bpd (barrels per day). While the bulk of the shipments, other than Chevron’s exports to the US, went to China and Iran, it’s noteworthy that exports to Cuba were up to 75,000 bpd from 58,000 bpd in May.

 The Maduro regime prioritizes oil shipments to Cuba as Venezuelans wait for hours, and sometimes days, to fill their gas tanks. (Does anybody remember that according to the OPEC charter member countries must guarantee domestic supply before exporting?) It’s also worth remembering Maduro’s production target for 2023 is two million bpd.

 And we have AA reporting that US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said the US is determined to continue pressing the Venezuela government to carry out free and fair elections in 2024, in light of the Maduro regime’s banning leading opposition candidate, Maria Corina Machado, from holding public office for 15 years.

 No mention was made regarding the review for the renewal of Chevron’s export license for shipping oil from Venezuela to the US. Remember, it was supposedly going to be reviewed after six months for demonstrating “concrete steps” were taken toward the return of democracy and free and fair elections in Venezuela?

 You know where we stand. Since the Maduro regime has not complied with the terms of the agreement export shipments to the US should be halted immediately.

 And we have Rio Times telling us that Nicolas Maduro’s VP, Delcy Rodriguez, expressed disagreement with remarks made by US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, regarding the upcoming 2024 presidential elections (calling for free and fair elections).

 “Our people also desire fair elections free from sanctions, interference, and aggression.” (What else would you expect her to say?)

 Diosdado Cabello (considered by many to be the most powerful man in Venezuela) also chimed in. “Imperialism, the UN, the EU – they all stand against the homeland and our people. They have no moral authority to make demands”.

 I guess I missed the part where you obtain “moral authority” by starving your people and committing 1,400 extrajudicial killings a year. That’s Chavismo’s “moral authority”!

 Rio Times also reported that Nicolas Maduro announced changes to the military high command during a military ceremony, however, he confirmed General Vladimir Padrino Lopez will remain Defense Minister (a position he has held since 2014) and several other commanders have new appointments but were already part of the command structure.

 It looks like Maduro’s strategy to keep the military happy (at least at the upper levels) through illicit trafficking and corruption opportunities is working.

 More tomorrow….

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