Where's "Woke Nicolas"?

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…Yahoo news reports that police arrested 33 men at the Avalon Man Club in Valencia, Venezuela, a private sauna and spa frequented by the LGBTQ+ community.They were charged with, among other things, public indecency.

 Police photographed their belongings including identity papers, and the photos were released, unredacted, on social media. The men’s names and ages were shared publicly as well.

 Is this the new acceptance by authorities of the LGBTQ+ community announced by Nicolas Maduro during his “Woke Nicolas” campaign?

 Then we have The PayPers reporting that US-based payments and money transfer company MoneyGram has partnered with Venezuela-based bank Banesco to expand it’s digital receive network.

 Venezuela consumers are now able to receive funds directly into their Banesco bank accounts. MoneyGram enables it’s customers to cash in and cash out more than 135 currencies as well as cryptocurrency.

 There are currently more than 7.3 million Venezuela migrants abroad with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) predicting another 1.4 million by 2025 and many of them send money back to Venezuela to family members who rely on these remittances for survival in the disastrous economy of Nicolas Maduro and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. These conditions bode well for MoneyGram and the beleaguered Venezuelan people need all the help they can get.

 Then we have Merco Press reporting that six Venezuela trade unionists and activists were sentenced to 16 years in jail for “conspiring against President (dictator) Nicolas Maduro”.

 The defendants were arrested between July 4-7, 2022 while staging a protest in demand of wage increases and improvements in working conditions. Four of the six were apprehended by BNP (National Police) and DGCI (Known for arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances).

 A couple of quick points…With a minimum wage of under $5 A MONTH, Venezuela has a long way to go on the wages front. As for the 16 year sentences, under the Maduro regime in Venezuela you can be sentenced for up to 20 years for “public criticism of a high government official”.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 4/ continued…

 …Then came March,2019. On March 7th the power went out in Caracas. No major concern, right? As if on cue the power returned after an hour or two. Life in the third world, right? Then the lights went out…and they stayed out. In 23 of 25 states they were without power. The blackout lasted five days in Caracas, longer in some areas, and in places the loss of power was almost indefinite. A week later another less intense but still far-reaching blackout occurred lasting a couple of days. That was followed up by a one day blackout in most of the country.

 In a country already reeling from the most disastrous economy in it’s history and most think in the history of the Western Hemisphere the effects were catastrophic. The current food crisis, unlike the 2014 crisis where there simply wasn’t any food on the shelves (although many areas still endure shortages) is that there’s nothing affordable. Hyperinflation for four years and devaluation of the bolivar have forced the average Venezuelan to live on 700 calories a day. More on that later. The transportation sector had collapsed along with the oil industry (gasoline shortages), healthcare, education, and others. Now no power. As bad as it is having to dig through garbage to survive you now had to do it in the dark!

 The first day or two actually unified much of the population. Food that would spoil was cooked and shared by those with gas or access to wood/charcoal fires. People shared candles, kerosene, lanterns, etc. Many neighbors became closer since they interacted more as they had to be outside. It was just too hot in their homes. That positive effect was short-lived and soon desperation set in. After a couple of days it’s only human nature to wonder “How long will this last?” With little to no communication available via telephone, TV, radio, etc. people didn’t know when, or if, help was coming and they responded as people all too often do. Scenes all over the country looked like something out of “Mad Max”. It was truly a post-apocalyptic scenario.

 Widespread looting was reported. Initially it was primarily food items but soon anything and everything were targeted. In Maracaibo alone over 500 businesses and stores were ransacked. The Metro (subway) stopped running and the oil well stopped pumping. Those with generators for their homes or businesses ran out of fuel. Back-up generator systems in hospitals broke down as they were intended to provide power for hours, not days. Surgeries in progress were completed with whatever lighting was available which in some cases meant using light from smart phones. No dialysis, chemo, radiation treatment, etc. People trying to escape the heat by sleeping outside were robbed. It was a nightmare.

 More tomorrow….

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