We’ll get started with this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment tomorrow but first…I’ve gotta’ go off on a bit of a rant. I saw this from Energy and Capital, “The Insanity Of Mending Ties With Venezuela”. The headline got me thinking (I know, the three most dangerous words are “I’ve been thinking”), how is this even possible, mending ties with Venezuela?
I understand Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina rushing to “normalize relations” with Venezuela. They’re socialists/Marxists and will blindly support the ideology no matter how many people Nicolas Maduro kills. The can always play the “anti-imperialism” or the “sovereignty” card and look the other way as the Maduro regime violates Human Rights and possibly (probably…assuredly?) commits crimes against humanity. Remember, Brazil President Lula referred to Maduro’s crimes as “a narrative”.
Other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean want to “normalize relations” with Venezuela ever since Maduro announced he would revive PetroCaribe, Hugo Chavez’s program by which member countries received discounted oil, free to some, at unrealistically favorable terms as well as Chavismo supporting joint ventures and social programs in various countries in return for them voicing political support for the Chavistas.
The program was shut down when both the oil production and the money (much of it provided by the over $60 billion in loans, primarily from China) went away (and still hasn’t returned). Without oil nor money the revival of PetroCaribe is just wishful thinking.
The Europeans should know better than to “normalize relations” with a brutal thug like Maduro but they’re in a bad situation. Due to their misguided climate change policies and over-reliance on Russia as an oil and gas supplier, they’re scrambling for oil and gas anywhere they can find it after Putin cut them off for supporting Ukraine, not realizing that Venezuela has very little to no spare production capacity of either. In the case of natural gas, despite sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves Venezuela also has the fifth-largest natural gas reserves and yet they produce basically no natural gas.
Europe did manage to get a little oil from Venezuela through a sanctions-easing agreement but has still not answered the question (which hardly anybody is asking) regarding whether or not they paid the Chavistas cash for the second shipment, as the Chavistas demanded, or if they complied with the terms of the agreement and paid with debt reduction. A cash payment would be a sanctions violation but their desire for oil may be more important to them than the Venezuelan people.
This brings us to the Americans.The US has no excuses. They gave Chevron a six-month license to import Venezuela oil into the US with the same provision as the European sanctions-easing deal, no cash payment to the Maduro regime, but with some important additional requirements. We covered this Friday so I’ll be brief…
The terms for renewal of Chevron’s six-month license were not ambiguous. The Maduro regime had to demonstrate “concrete steps” (Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken’s own words) were taken toward the holding of free and fair elections and the restoration of democracy or the license would not be renewed…period!
Not only have the Chavistas not done that, they have further undermined the electoral process and have done nothing to restore democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela. Chevron’s license, which is long-past it’s six-month review date, should not be renewed but the Biden administration is actually considering further sanctions-easing!
It may be unbelievable but it’s certainly no big surprise as Joe Biden, even before his obvious cognitive and physical decline, has proven to be the worst president in our country’s history. Remember, former President Obama said of now President Biden, “Never underestimate Joe’s capacity to f–k things up”.
His energy policy, and I use the term loosely, is less US oil and gas production and more imports so getting oil from Venezuela fits right in and plays well to his political base which is totally committed to the fraudulent “fight against climate change”.
Neither Biden nor his base seem to understand (or don’t care) that they’re calling for less production of the cleanest-produced oil in the world and importing Venezuela oil which has the highest carbon footprint of any oil in the world.
And worse yet, Venezuela oil supports a brutal regime that is starving and killing it’s own people (They’ve been starving since 2014 and the Maduro regime has averaged 1,400 extrajudicial killings per year since he took power in 2013, not to mention the thousands that die every year due to lack of medicine, a collapsed healthcare system, the resurgence of previously eradicated diseases, etc.)
How else can you explain the 7.4 million (and counting) Venezuela migrants that have fled the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism? To mend ties with Venezuela and the Maduro regime is insanity!
Then again, as evidenced by the fact that the amount of aid dollars spent per Venezuelan migrant is only 10% of that spent on migrants from Syria and Ukraine, nobody cares about Venezuela or Venezuelans. And that, my friends, is why TFT exists.
Well, now that I got that off my chest, we can return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. See ya’ then…
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