Will It Get Worse?

 No Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment today so here we go…Mongabay tells us that the easing of sanctions on Venezuela’s largest industry segments including oil and gas and gold, is intended to give the country a chance at free and fair elections.

 Venezuela’s oil and gas sector is a constant source of pollution along the Caribbean coast and Lake Maracaibo. Illegal gold mining is tearing apart the rain forest and destroying ancestral lands and indigenous communities.

 As eased restrictions give way to new business opportunities will the damage worsen? Emiliano Teran, with Observatory of Political Ecology (OEP) said “Eliminating sanctions wouldn’t necessarily improve PDVSA’s (Venezuela government-owned oil company) environmental performance”, adding that corruption and negligence need to be addressed regardless of the economic context.

 Lifting of sanctions doesn’t mean PDVSA will do a better job fixing pipes, replacing worn out tanks, or releasing oil spill data. The Chavista government has neglected basic maintenance on it’s oil and gas infrastructure basically since they took power two and a half decades ago and hasn’t released oil spill data in years.

 The lifting of sanctions on the gold sector won’t necessarily change the business model of selling to countries that don’t respect conventional trade restrictions, like Turkey and Iran, and neighboring countries with similar problems could start laundering their illegal gold through Venezuela’s new legal channels. (Not so different than Hugo Chavez ceasing cooperation with the DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration, leading to a huge increase in the transportation of drugs through Venezuela)

 “By lifting sanctions on Venezuelan gold, the US becomes a co-participant in the looting of the Venezuelan Amazon and chooses to ignore an ecocide that now becomes unstoppable”, according to investigative group, SOS Orinoco. The Maduro regime’s response to the environmental calamity in the oil and gas and gold sectors…”It’s a visual matter”.

 So, will the environmental situation get worse? Have the Chavistas given us any reason to think that it won’t?

 Then we have Caracas Chronicles with the headline “Uruguay is receiving Venezuelans, with a caveat”. The article detailed a bizarre situation facing Venezuelan migrants (and others) who would like to reside in Uruguay.

 It begs the question, “When is a citizen not a citizen?” That would be when foreign nationals are granted “legal citizenship” in Uruguay, a naturalization term that dates back to 1830.

 Applicants must first pay the $185 per person fee, enacted in February (Which doesn’t seem like much, unless you’re a Venezuelan, where the minimum wage is under $4 A MONTH).

 After completing the five year waiting period a migrant can achieve “legal citizen” status and three years later can acquire a credential for voting rights…but here’s the kicker…

 A “legal citizen” has access to a passport from Uruguay that reads your real citizenship is your country of origin, Venezuela for instance. In other words, a “legal citizen” can’t travel with that passport issued by Uruguay. You still need a valid passport from your country of origin which, in the case of Venezuela, may be difficult to obtain. It’s really just a glorified government ID.

 If Uruguay really wants to be considered “pro-migrant”, as they portray themselves, they will have to address this long-standing government policy.

 Then we have CBS News reporting that the number of Venezuelans crossing the US – Mexico border illegally dropped dramatically in October, when the Biden administration started deporting Venezuelan migrants directly back to crisis stricken Venezuela.

 Border Patrol agents apprehended 29,637 Venezuelan migrants who entered the US illegally in October, a 46% drop from September. Overall, apprehensions for illegals was down 14% in October.

 The drop in Venezuelan migrant apprehensions, while significant, may be temporary, according to Adam Isacson, a migration analyst with Washington Office on Latin America. “Extreme poverty, insecurity, and an authoritarian government are still there”.

 Then we have Digital Journal reporting that the European Council said in a statement it had decided “exceptionally to extend it’s restrictive measures (sanctions) for Venezuela for six months only, instead of one year”.

 They further stated that they welcomed the Barbados agreement (the Maduro regime and Venezuela opposition agreed to a process toward free and fair elections…note the term process) as “a positive and necessary step…toward the restoration of democracy in Venezuela” and said it was a factor in deciding to shorten the review period.

 “The council is willing to take steps and consider the easing or reversal of restrictive measures depending on the evolution of the situation”. In case you’re wondering, the Chavistas want the sanctions (all of ’em) lifted now.

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Monday with the next Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment and more current news. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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