At Least He's Consistent

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a bit but first…When it comes to Nicolas Maduro, well, at least he’s consistent…Rio Times reports that Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (the army) celebrated it’s 86th anniversary with a commemoration ceremony in which President (dictator), Nicolas Maduro, aired his concerns that the US is funneling funds to right-wing political groups in Venezuela to incite violence and upheaval aiming to cast a shadow over the upcoming 2024 presidential election.

 He claimed the US wants to create societal animosity and ignite a wave of violence referring to the turbulence of 2014 and 2017, potentially setting the stage for an unwelcome foreign military intervention.

 He said he was determined to avert a repeat of the violent protests, which (according to Maduro) inflicted significant damage on the Venezuelan people and their (his) security forces.

 Reality check : It was the government security forces that inflicted the damage on the Venezuelan people (Who were protesting because they were, and still are, starving) killing at least 40 protesters in 2014 and another 140 in 2017, wounding thousands more and, of course, thousands more were arbitrarily detained.

 Oh, and as far as we know, Nicolas Maduro is the only one talking about military intervention, although the sooner the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism are gone from Venezuela the sooner the Venezuelan people can begin the rebuilding process of everything Maduro and the Chavistas have destroyed…which is pretty much everything.

 Then we have Reuters telling us that Venezuela’s opposition-led congress will consider a plan by the board overseeing Venezuela’s foreign assets to extend the validity of billions of dollars in defaulted bonds to allow for payment negotiations and debt restructuring.

 The plan is similar to one presented by the Venezuelan government (Maduro’s government which is not recognized by the US). Any plan by the opposition-led congress would have to be green lit by the US and the Treasury Department has already said it will not stand in the way of the auction process for the sale of Citgo shares, Venezuela’s last foreign asset that’s really worth anything, scheduled to begin in October, This whole thing is just too little, too late.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 4/ continued…

 …Under Chavismo issues with water are nothing new. In recent years there have been thousands of protests annually in various communities and neighborhoods for lack of water although it must be said it’s hard to distinguish them from the lack of power protests (or the lack of food protests, or the wage protests…or…). It’s common to encounter roads barricaded in protest, burning tires, etc. Typically the government sends in some water trucks and things calm down…until the the next time. Caracas is the perfect example of the problem.

 Although in close proximity to the coast Caracas sits well above sea level (900 meters) requiring it’s water supply to be pumped uphill to a significantly higher altitude for much of the city. When the power went out the Tuy pumping system went down leaving millions without water.

 Common scenes in Caracas included (and continue to include) people bathing in flooded potholes and collecting water from sewer drains that flow into the Guaire river. As bad as it is using water from these drains it will get worse as the drains dry up and the waste backs up adding to the already dangerous health situation. People everywhere can be seen carrying buckets, large water bottles, or whatever containers they have. Everybody is out looking for water or carrying it home if they are lucky enough to find it.

 Like many other things in Venezuela the military has been tasked with water distribution. Those who can afford it pay $200 for a 5,000 liter water truck to fill their tank. If you don’t have the $200 (the current minimum wage is under 5 bucks a month) you are at the mercy of the military as to who receives the coveted deliveries. If you are a well-connected, loyal Chavista you get priority. If not, well…

 The El Avila National Park is also a victim. It’s becoming an ecological disaster as people use it’s mountain streams for bathing, laundry, and toilets.

 As if experiencing a fire wasn’t bad enough fire fighters can’t put out fires without water so many people have to watch their hopes and dreams go up in flames when the damage could have been minimal with access to water.

 Years ago, with the water system failing country-wide, the government said it was a priority to meet the UN Millennium Developmental Goals so things weren’t good even under normal circumstances. (Normal under Chavismo, that is) The deadline was 2015 and the people are still waiting. In 2018, 79% of the hospitals reported irregular water service and the situation hasn’t improved. The government water utility, Hidrocapital, sometimes cuts water service in some areas for 48 hours.

 With the Tuy pumping system and others not able to fully come back online due to both operating energy consumption and the threat of grid collapse this isn’t going to be solved anytime soon. But not to worry folks! Maduro announced that the government will supply all water needed utilizing delivery by tanker trucks. Aside from the fact that the government can’t even keep a fleet of buses running (Currently there are one in ten operating) tanker trucks “ain’t gonna’ cut it”! If you do the math, in order to equal the output of the Tuy pumping system the government would need to deliver three tankers every second! Caracas needs 20,000 liters of water per second. It was down to 13,000 liters per second before the blackouts. Then it went to ZERO and hasn’t fully recovered.

 Summary : Each year since Maduro took office he has proclaimed that the coming year would be the “Bolivarian Revolution’s” version of “The Great Leap Forward” and productivity and economic stability were on the way. Each year conditions worsened and, while lamenting that it was the fault of the usual suspects, he’s assured the people that “The Revolution” would provide prosperity and security for all. The constant barrage of days furloughed and workdays shortened makes increasing productivity a bit difficult. The Chavistas don’t seem to connect the dots between work and productivity. There was plenty of advance warning on both the power and water situations. The government did nothing. Here we go again with our broken record. This situation was not caused by outside influences. It is not the result of war. It is not the result of a natural disaster. It is a man- made disaster, a Chavista- made disaster.

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Monday with our next Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment as well as more current news. Until then… Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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