A Lot Of Nothing
We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…Rigzone reports that Venezuela has just one gasoline refinery operating as it struggles to repair two key plants, creating a shortage so severe drivers and truckers are queuing up for hours, even days, for fuel (FYI, these shortages have been happening on and off for years).
The gasoline-making unit at the Puerto La Cruz refinery, accounting for just 14% of Venezuela’s gas refining capacity, is the only one left functioning after pump and compressor problems took down the Cardon and Amuay refineries last week and attempted repairs failed. The last time Venezuela faced shortages this serious was in 2020 when the National Guard had to be deployed to protect gas stations. So, how’s that deal with Iran working out?
Quick refresher : As we know the Maduro regime signs more meaningless “historic, strategic agreements” and MOUs (Memorandum Of Understanding) than anybody.
Earlier this year they signed an actual contract for hundreds of millions of dollars, in addition to the dozens of highly-publicized, meaningless agreements already in place, for the Iranians to repair critical infrastructure at Venezuela’s refineries. The rehab was scheduled to take approximately 100 days.
I know, hundreds of millions of dollars sounds like a lot of money but it’s really a whole lot of nothing in the context of the devastation wrought upon PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) by the Chavistas and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.
Responsible oil industry analysts agree that it will take over $10 billion a year for at least 10 years to recover production lost under Chavismo and that will require major investment by international oil majors, most of whom have already had assets expropriated by the Chavistas.
I’m sure the oil company executives remember the old saying, “The first time a dog bites you it’s the dog’s fault, the second time it’s your own”. They’re unlikely to make a large financial commitment in Venezuela until the Maduro regime is gone.
Until that happens PDVSA is just circling the drain…continuing it’s death spiral. FYI, the Chavistas are still paying off China for the $60 billion they borrowed in oil-for-loan deals so don’t expect the Chinese to come to the rescue anytime soon.
Then we have Space News reporting that Venezuela has formally joined the China-led ILRS (International Lunar Research Station) project. Venezuela becomes one of the first countries to join the initiative seen as a China-led parallel to the NASA-led Artemis Project.
China and Venezuela previously established space cooperation with the launch of the China-built VeneSat 1 communications satellite (although it’s unclear what, if anything, Venezuela actually contributed to the project)
The announcement was marked by the signing of an MOU (this time called a Memorandum Of Cooperation). As we’ve said before, we can add this to the ever-growing list of meaningless “Memorandums” signed by the Maduro regime. Nobody signs more meaningless agreements than the Chavistas.
Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…
Chapter 2/ continued…
…Protester after protester all have the same response to the question “Why are you protesting?” And the answer is… “As long as Maduro remains in power we will continue to die.” Sanctions relief would simply allow Maduro and his cadre to remain in power longer causing more Venezuelans to die every day. That is, of course, unless you believe that Maduro will wake up tomorrow and after all these years of doing nothing but inflicting pain and death on his people suddenly provide them with food and medicine instead of buying more weapons to prolong his tenure. What do you think?
Another revenue source which isn’t talked about and is vehemently denied by the Chavistas is trafficking. Their vast networks of illegal trafficking of narcotics, gasoline, food, and minerals produce an estimated nine to ten billion dollars a year. Where are the stories about the benevolent narco-traffickers buying medicine and baby formula for the long-suffering people of Venezuela? I will get into the details of these networks in subsequent writings as well but anyone that does even minimal research on the Maduro regime knows of the existence of these networks and how (and how much) they benefit the Chavistas. These are bad guys and what they do, and have done, to the Venezuelan people is pure evil. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
So what are the alternatives? Doing nothing is not an option and I don’t want to go to the other extreme of armed intervention although “The Great Liberator”, Simon Bolivar, used armed intervention by the British to free Venezuelans and Colombians from Spanish colonial rule (another one of those things nobody likes to talk about). Dialog? You can’t be serious. Dialog has been tried numerous times with the Chavistas since 2014 and has failed miserably as the first thing on the list, free and fair elections monitored by international groups, is a non-starter for Chavismo. With Maduro’s approval rating never getting above 15% (and we last saw it at 5%) , his party, PSUV, would lose in dramatic fashion. That pretty much leaves us with sanctions in the hope that they will financially strangle the Maduro regime to the point where he can’t afford to buy the loyalty of the military any longer and he will step down or be forced out as internal pressure, both from protests and within his own party, mounts.
There is one more thing that nobody seems to be talking about (at least until recently) except yours truly and I alluded to it earlier. If none of this works out Maduro is still screwed but unfortunately the Venezuelan people will be screwed along with him. It’s the bondholders (and other creditors). Once again, we will have to leave the details of this scenario for later as it’s complicated but the bond vultures are circling and may soon swoop in. When that happens there will be nothing left but bones.
Summary : Like it or not, we live in a sound-bite world and people are prone to irresponsibly parrot anything that supports their views without bothering to check the facts. It’s easy to see with even the most superficial amount of fact-checking that Venezuela was suffering long before sanctions were initiated, that non-individual sanctions weren’t used until the Chavistas had every opportunity to address the horrific conditions they imposed on the people, and options, other than sanctions, do or allow, more atrocities to be perpetrated on the Venezuelan people and more Venezuelans die.
That wraps up this segment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole. We’ll be back with more current news tomorrow….
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