Cue The Ump

  We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a sec but first…Reuters reports that US officials are drafting a proposal that would ease sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, allowing more companies and countries to import it’s crude oil, if the South American nation moves toward a free and fair presidential election.

 The White House said President Joe Biden’s government is prepared to provide sanctions relief if the country moves to restore democracy. The White House declined to comment on the re-framing proposal. Venezuela’s negotiation leader, Jorge Rodriguez, and the US State Department did not reply to requests for comment. Well, I’ve got a comment…What are you thinking!!!

When the US government eased sanctions to allow Chevron to import Venezuela crude to the US the State Department made it very clear, numerous times, that the renewal of Chevron’s six-month license would be contingent on the Maduro regime taking “concrete steps” (Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s words) toward free and fair elections and the restoration of democracy. He said this in response to fears that the US was rewarding Maduro’s regime for it’s unacceptable behavior.

 That six-month deadline is long past and we’ve had no review of the license renewal and no statement from the State Department or the US Treasury (the guys that actually issue the license).

 Here’s my review : Since Cevron’s license was issued  the Maduro regime has made “concrete steps” …IN THE WRONG DIRECTION !!!

 Jorge Rodriguez announced that no independent international electoral observers would be allowed into Venezuela to monitor the upcoming (and still unscheduled) presidential election. STRIKE ONE !

 The Maduro regime has disqualified leading opposition candidate, Maria Corina Machado, banning her from holding public office for 15 years. STRIKE TWO !

 Maduro’s TSJ (Supreme Court) effected an intervention regarding PCV (Communist Party of Venezuela) removing all current leadership and replacing them arbitrarily with an ad hoc board (Chavista friendly). STRIKE THREE…YOU’RE OUT !!!!

 NO LICENSE RENEWAL FOR CHEVRON !! And certainly no sanctions relief…the prior sanctions should be reimposed. You do not reward a brutal dictator who’s regime is currently under investigation by the ICC (International Criminal Court) for systematic Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity and don’t forget the Clooney foundation’s lawsuit against the Maduro regime for crimes against humanity filed in Argentina. You do not buy Venezuelan oil…PERIOD !

 Now, lets head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 6/ continued…

 …Venezuelan retirees receive their pensions monthly via the :Carnet de la Patria” (Homeland Card) system. Don’t get me started. Once again, the “Carnet de la Patria” will require it’s own chapter as it’s governmental political and economic extortion. Bolivares are placed into their account which they can then transfer to their personal bank account or withdraw cash. Without prior notification retirees got a surprise. When they received their text message that the deposit from the government had been made they found out it was not in bolivares, it was in Petros! When the uproar commenced as the retirees had no idea what to do with the Petros they were told “Don’t worry, it’s a simple two-step process to convert Petros to bolivares.” They failed to mention that the “simple process” would delay the arrival of bolivares in their account by a day or two. They also failed to mention that if you were one of those people that would go to Banco Venezuela and conduct your business in person and withdraw cash it would take an extra trip. It was a fiasco that, as far as I know, wasn’t repeated (thankfully).

 When Maduro launched the new currency, designated bsS for Bolivar Soberano, it was tied to the Petro saying it would provide stability as the Petro was tied to the price of a barrel of oil. Let me see if I’ve got this right. Is this supposed to be like algebra… If A=B and B=C then A=C ? So, how’s that working out? Well, when the bsS was announced in August, 2018 the black market rate (the real value) was 101 bsS/dollar. On June 1st, 2019 the rate was 6,000 bsS/dollar.

 It seems that good old stable Petro didn’t fare much better. PTR (Petro) went from 36,000 bsS/Petro to  196,957 bsS/PTR. The curious thing is the government website still showed the Petro valued at $60 but if you convert the price in bsS at the rate of 196,957 bsS to dollars you come up with $32.83.  So, what is it? Is it 60 dollars or less than 33 bucks?  It can’t be both. Funny thing is…nobody cares!

 Oh, I almost forgot to mention another little eccentricity of “el Petro”. Unlike other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which I own by the way, where you can buy it today and sell it tomorrow, PTR had a 90 day holding period, although that would later be amended…and guess what? Nobody cared!

 Summary : I can understand Maduro’s fascination with cryptocurrency. It’s like they tech you in the Red Cross lifeguard certification course, “Drowning people are desperate and will latch onto anything”. I’m sure he thought it would be creating money out of thin air, just like printing his “Sovereign Bolivares”.  Unfortunately for Maduro and the rest of the Chavistas they failed to understand the most basic concept of cryptocurrency, lack of centralized control. Once you get past the conceptual level they really didn’t understand anything else either.

 There has never been a more confusing, convoluted, and contrary initial offering in the history of financial instruments, and there have been some doozies. Not surprising when you consider the source but you would think that as they worked their way through the process they might have been able to improve the situation a little, clarify the situation a little. You would be wrong.

 The only thing remotely resembling the truth about “el Petro” is that before the concept phase it was worth ZERO! After it was launched it was worth ZERO! And today it’s worth ZERO! Thankfully other than the few people who were coerce into buying the $300,000 worth of PTR, nobody fell for this fraud. Again, from the Washington Post, “The Petro might be the most obviously horrible investment ever!”

 Well, that does it for another week. We’ll be back Monday with our next installment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole as well as more current news. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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