They're Actually Doing It
We’ll get to our Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a minute but first…Reuters reports that European oil companies Eni (Italy) and Repsol (Spain) are upgrading their oil-for-debt deal with Venezuela (If that’s in fact what it is?).
The US has approved the two firm’s proposal to expand their oil-for-debt deal to include refined products, which Venezuela needs to produce gasoline, which is for domestic use and which they also provide to Cuba. There are currently 330,000 barrels of naphtha en route to Venezuela to be used by PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) to process it’s heavy crude oil.
The US approval is similar to that which was granted to Chevron relating to it’s joint ventures with PDVSA. Eni and Repsol could potentially expand their ventures to include natural gas (which is already being discussed) and other oil projects in the next phase. This tracks with reports that the Biden administration is considering further sanctions-easing for Venezuela.
You know where we here at TFT stand. The Biden administration needs to be true to it’s word that prior sanctions-easing wouldn’t be renewed unless the Maduro regime demonstrated “concrete steps” had been taken toward free and fair elections and the restoration of democracy. In short, the Maduro regime has not done this and has actually become more repressive.
Chevron’s deal should be halted immediately! All prior sanctions should be reinstated..immediately! Oh and by the way, we still have no clarification on whether or not the Europeans paid the Chavistas cash for any of Eni and Repsol’s prior shipments, which would be a sanctions violation and negate both the earlier sanctions-easing and current efforts.
It’s time to stop this “normalization” with these criminals and follow a policy commensurate with their behavior of Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity.
And on the lighter side we have France 24 telling us that cosmetic surgery has been popular in Venezuela for quite a while but one procedure has had lasting negative consequences.
Backside-enhancing procedures, commonly called “butt lifts” gained a lot of popularity and were relatively affordable but those utilizing biopolymer fillers, even though they’ve been banned in Venezuela since 2012, have left a growing number of women either mutilated or suffering chronic pain.
A major contributing factor to the problem is the cost of surgical removal. It might have been inexpensive to get the work done but to get it undone costs from $5,000 – $11,000..ouch!
Now, lets head Down The Rabbit Hole…
Chapter 7/ continued…
…First, the CLAP program, a Spanish acronym, can only be received by those holding the “Carnet de la Patria”. There’s that nasty “Homeland Card” again. Next, when the program was launched the deliveries were somewhat on schedule although, as we said, they weren’t big enough. It didn’t take long for the deliveries to become spotty with priority given to the well-connected while others might not see their CLAP boxes for a month or two. Next, the quality of the products rapidly declined and many items were past their expiration date. Next, the government drastically overpaid for the contents of the boxes, which surprised absolutely nobody. The majority of the items came from Mexico, provided by a company affiliated with Maduro. When the company was targeted in a corruption probe it closed up shop and the items were sourced primarily from Turkey. Not surprisingly, at the same time Maduro announced stronger ties with Turkey. Now, with the military put in charge of food distribution (it’s getting harder to find ways to buy their loyalty) they also oversee CLAP delivery. C’mon, raise your hand if you think things will improve for the average Venezuelan!
Summary : We’ve previously discussed the “Maduro Diet” (malnutrition and starvation), the food shortages, the lack of affordability when food is available (How about, at one point, 138 monthly minimum wages needed to feed a family of five a balanced diet?), and the government’s denial of the problem, at least until recently. Now they can blame it on those imperialist, interventionist sanctions by those gringos, who are responsible for all things evil. A recent report by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) really sums things up…
Said organization, the FAO, gave an award to Venezuela in 2013 (the year Maduro took power) for reducing hunger by 50% from 1990 levels. This is a good thing although we now know that as soon as the historically high oil prices and the massive borrowing went away, so would the food. Anyway…Maduro got a lot of mileage out of that award on state media. Curiously there has been no mention on state media of the most recent report by the FAO. Venezuela is at risk of famine! 80% of Venezuelans live in food insecurity (they can’t afford to be properly fed). Malnutrition tripled from 2016 – 2019. Crop production dropped in 2018 and 2019 by 50% from already depressed levels…and the report didn’t even mention one of my personal favorites… In 2018 the combination of children with malnutrition or wasting reached 35%. I didn’t even know what “wasting” meant (not malnourished but losing weight, which children aren’t supposed to do).
The purpose of the FAO report was to assess the situation and make recommendations to implement to address the issues. Now, call me crazy but if the Chavistas won’t listen to recommendations from their most important allies, Russia (gave a four-point economic plan to Maduro, number of points implemented…zero), Cuba (everyone knows what an economic basket case they are, or else why are there more Cubans in Miami than Havana? Cuba is only 90 miles south from South Florida and by the way, the South Florida Cuban population are rabid supporters of the Venezuela opposition and staunchly anti-socialist/anti-Marxist), and China. I saved the best for last..In a November,2018 economic cooperation conference a Venezuelan minister told his Chinese counterpart that the key for Venezuela would be more government control. Yu Bin, the head of the Chinese delegation, responded ” We have found exactly the opposite to be true. 90% of companies in China are private and the government does whatever it can to help and support their efforts.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Famine…Jesus…I think I hear that familiar refrain. These are conditions normally associated with war-torn countries or areas ravaged by drought or natural disasters. This is a man-made disaster…a Chavista- made disaster.
P.S. Just so you know, I didn’t forget , there are photos and videos everywhere showing things like the group of people that jumped a farmer’s fence and beat one of his cows to death with rocks, slaughtered zoo animals, the lady cooking a cat in the street, etc. Oh, and don’t forget all the looting and hijackings. The most common sign on the side of trucks in Venezuela is “This vehicle carries no food!”
That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Tuesday after celebration the Labor Day weekend with our next segment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole and more current news. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!!
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