Lift The MCM Ban Now

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a sec but first…Reuters reports that the US and Venezuela have been in talks for fresh oil sanctions exceptions in Doha on several occasions this year and seem to be closer to allowing another oil company (Chevron, Eni, and Repsol currently have exemptions) to partner with PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company) in return for debt reduction.

 The latest is Maurel and Prom (France)…OK..enough already. Let me say this again. Chevron got an exemption with a conditional six month license that would be renewed if the Maduro regime demonstrated “concrete steps” toward free and fair elections and the restoration of democracy in Venezuela, which they haven’t done.

 Eni and Repsol got an exemption for oil to Europe but is was for debt reduction only which, at this point is still questionable as the Chavistas demanded cash after the first shipment and we don’t know if Europe gave them cash or not…nobody’s talking.

 On October 22nd it’s likely we’ll have an opposition candidate elected in the primaries, Maria Corina Machado (MCM), to face Maduro in the 2024 presidential election and the Maduro regime has banned her from holding public office for 15 years.

 Before any talks about anything happen, the ban on MCM must be lifted (not promised sometime in the future) PERIOD!

 Then we have Rio Times with an article in the “Who’re you gonna’ believe, me or your lying eyes” category. Venezuela Foreign Minister, Yvan Gil, refuted allegations of political rights violations during his address to a UN committee.

 “No one in Venezuela has lost their political rights unless a court decides”. He added that only those with proven corruption face disqualification.

 However, opposition leader, Maria Corina Machado, the overwhelming leader in the polls leading up to the October 22nd primaries, received a 15 year ban from holding public office from the Maduro regime. The ban was issued by the Comptroller General’s Office, not a court.

 Just a reminder, even if the ban had been issued by a court, Venezuela has no independent judiciary. We did an entire chapter in Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole on the farce that is TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court) and Venezuela’s judicial system…like until a few recent cosmetic rulings…decisions in favor of the Chavista government – 50,000, decisions against – ZERO.

 In the most recent elections in Venezuela, both the EU Electoral Observation Mission and the Carter Center denounced Venezuela’s electoral process as fraudulent. The UN Human Rights Commissioner and the OAS (Organization of American States) have also called for transparency and due process in Venezuela’s electoral procedures.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 15/ continued…

 …The founding fathers were great men, great thinkers, forward thinkers. The American Experiment is the greatest success in the history of government. The men who drafted it’s foundational documents seemed to have an understanding of a basic truth, no one knows what the future will bring and governments seem to transform themselves based on the lowest common denominator. When Ben Franklin responded to the question of what kind of government they had set up for us his response was perfect. “A constitutional republic…if you can keep it.” The way they set things up all seem to serve the same purpose, to protect the government (us) from itself (ourselves).

 They were very fearful of the power of government having just sacrificed so much to win their freedom. It was this fear that caused them to implement all the checks and balances contained in our system and still they knew we had the potential to screw it up. There was one thing that could help defend the people from the unforeseen consequences  of actions taken by unknown future leaders, an armed populace. They weren’t worried about someone coming and robbing us in our home. They were worried about the government coming and taking our home away from us! I always fall back on one of my favorite quotes and it’s not from a founding father but it shows a healthy distrust of a strong centralized government, when it becomes too strong. ” A government big enough and powerful enough to give you everything you want is big enough and powerful enough to take away everything you have.”

 One common thread throughout history is there have always been people that manage to get into positions of power that believe two things, the end justifies the means and might makes right. It’s not theory but fact. It’s all around us today. Chairman Mao said it and it’s oh so true…”Government power comes from the barrel of a gun.” When you refuse to do what the government wants you to do, regardless of your legal rights, they will send people with guns. What keeps people with guns from doing whatever they want, wherever they want, to whomever they want? Other people with guns (and remember, I’m not a gun owner).

 In 2012 Hugo Chavez disarmed the Venezuelan people. At the time, a lot of people I spoke with were OK with the idea. I knew a number of Europeans in Venezuela and they were all comfortable with that. They don’t think that now. When it’s suggested “That wouldn’t happen here” or “We would never do that” be afraid, be very afraid. I have to believe that when an FAES death squad goes into the barrio to make an example of someone that disagrees with the government they might think twice if there were people in the neighborhood with guns. Call it common sense, self-preservation, or whatever but would you and a few people with guns go somewhere intent on using them if you knew there were hundreds of people there with guns that would shoot back? Probably not.

 This discussion could go on and on, and it has in the US for decades. People on both sides of the issue have reports and studies supporting their positions. I believe it is a good thing for any population to have the right to bear arms as a check against uncontrolled government oppression. While I believe my theories and rationality supporting my opinion are sound, I can’t say I’m sure my stance is the correct one. There is, however, one thing I can say with absolute certainty. I have spoken with many people in Venezuela and every single one of them believes that if the Venezuelans had the right to keep and bear arms Maduro and his thugs would have been gone years ago and the Venezuelan people would be rebuilding their country, not fleeing it.

 That wraps up this segment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole. We’ll be back tomorrow with more current news.


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