The Sound Of Silence

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first… Global Voices reports  Russia’s war is strengthening Venezuela’s solidarity with Ukraine, according to CMO (Civic Media Observatory). There is a need to differentiate between the  Venezuelan government, who openly support Russia, and the Venezuelan people, who openly protest the war.

 The Chavista base is traditionally 10%-15% of the population (at least under Maduro) which shows the strength of the Maduro regime , who runs the country with 85% – 90% of the people disapproving of the government.

 The Chavistas have adopted Russia’s narrative, often word for word, regarding the war and the propaganda machine of Maduro and Putin tends to drown out the pro- Ukraine narrative even though it represents 85%-90% of the citizenry.

 Maybe the most telling part of the article was that despite China and Venezuela being among the few who support Russia in it’s war with Ukraine, it hasn’t translated into the help the Maduro regime really needs.

 China’s support for Venezuela remains basically at the diplomatic level, not economic support. Remember, China was, at one point, Venezuela’s staunchest ally (to the tune of over $60 billion in loans, which has now dried up). I hear the sound of silence…Maybe China is tired of Nicolas Maduro, like most of the world.

 Then we have Rio Times reporting that in an effort to enhance oil production, Venezuela has turned to previously dormant wells, which has resulted in a 10% production increase in 2022, according to PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company). Many of these wells have been dormant for a couple of decades. That’s the good news.

 The challenges going forward are high production costs and the need for advanced technology, which may hinder exploitation.

 Another issue is that the oil from these areas is extra-heavy crude which requires extra processing before being fit for global refineries and Venezuela’s refineries are in a shambles. Kinda’ sounds like they will struggle to make a profit from these oil sales…if they can sell it.

 Then we have Reuters reporting that Venezuela Attorney General, Tarek Saab, announced Venezuela has launched a probe into death threats against opposition presidential candidate, Delsa Solorzano.

 Ms Solorzano, head of the Citizens Encounter party, said insult laden death threats were sent to her via Facebook and X and she posted a screenshot that appeared to show a message attributed to Colombia rebel group ELN threatening to kill her. ELN has also been implicated in the killing of Ecuadorean presidential candidate, Fernando Villaricencia.

 The next round of talks between Colombia President,  Gustavo Petro, and ELN rebels is scheduled for Caracas this week. Sounds like the Marxist rebels are getting a little out of control.

 Now. lets head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 6/ continued…

 …Despite these inconsistencies (to be kind) Maduro dispatched his minions around the globe to try to find buyers for PTR (el Petro) . I guess having been rejected on his last couple of jaunts around the world begging for money he decided to send emissaries. He offered a 35% discount to anyone who would support the glorious “Bolivarian Revolution”. There were many reports of much larger discounts offered but they are unconfirmed, believable but unconfirmed. Chavismo hyped the global interest to the max. “The oil minister to present Petro proposal to OPEC”, “Venezuela and Russia discuss Petro for…”, “Venezuela and China meet regarding Petro”… And on and on it went. At the end of all this, the number of recorded, verifiable sales of PTR…ZERO!

 To further confuse the issue there was a dizzying array of announcements by Maduro, his Cryptocurrency Minister, and other government officials :

 “Maduro hints at second cryptocurrency offering, Petro Oro, a gold-backed cryptocurrency.”

 “Maduro launches creation of Petro-funded cryptocurrency bank for youth initiative.”

 “Petro will be tied to the Fuerte Bolivar  (weeks before launching a new currency)”

 “Petro will be used as unit of account for salaries, goods, and services.”

 Decree 3.196 announced that the backing of “el Petro” will consist of a barrel of oil or… wait for it…WHATEVER COMMODITY THE NATION DECIDES!!

 Also in Decree 3.196 two different prices are referenced for a barrel of oil. One refers to the OPEC basket price while the other refers to the Venezuela basket price, which are far apart. Due to much of Venezuela’s crude being “extra-heavy crude” the discounts for Venezuela crude can be from 35% to 40%… not to mention one is denominated in dollars and the other in yuan.

 More tomorrow…


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