Venezuela continues to spiral downward

Venezuelan flag. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

News out of Venezuela keeps getting worse.

8/18/17 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuela’s Former Attorney General Flees to Columbia – The constituent assembly removed the Attorney General earlier in the month and last week took over all legislative powers from the Congress. When the government leveled corruption accusations against the now-deposed Attorney General, she and her husband fled for their lives to Columbia.

As an indicator of why she had to get-outta’-Dodge is that the secret police raided her home last week and the government has now banned 60 other prosecutors from leaving the country.

8/26/17 – Hot air – Girls As Young As 12 Turned To Prostitution To Survive Venezuela’s Socialist NightmareA very young woman, age 14, who was working in a brothel says she is no longer the youngest person there. The most recent crowning achievement of the socialist dictatorship in Venezuela is that women age 13 and 12 are now working in prostitution in order to have enough money so they and their families will avoid starving to death.

The government is cracking down on the few media outlets that aren’t under its thumb. Two radio stations have been shut down.

8/25/17 – Wall Street Journal – U.S. Toughens Penalties on Venezuela by Curbing Its Access to Funds Actions by U.S. government prevents Venezuela from new bond financing in the U.S..

Short term financing of oil exports to US will be allowed along with secondary market of trading on existing bonds. Stated purpose is to put pressure on the Venezuelan government.

In articles I won’t link, I read that bond prices in the secondary market fell substantially before this announcement. After the announcement was made bond prices in the secondary market recovered a bit because the market had discounted into pricing the possibility of a ban on secondary market trading

9/8/17 – Wall Street Journal – Struggling Venezuela Asks Russian to Restructure Its Debt – Venezuela has $3.5B of bond payments due in October and November with liquid reserve sitting at a mere $1B at the moment.

The cursory description of numbers for Venezuela’s debt to Russia don’t quite make sense. Article says Russia has loaned Venezuela $6B in the “past few years”, with more precise timeline not mentioned. In 9/16, Venezuela owed Russia $2.8B and another $1B was borrowed in 4/17. The April borrowing was actually a prepayment on future oil deliveries.

One commenter at the article is enjoying the spectacle. His observation is this is like going to the race track and watching one of your enemies “bet on a dead horse.”

I like that:  a loan to Venezuela is like betting on a horse that is dead, that won’t be able to even get out of starting gate.

9/11/17 – Al Jazeera – Venezuela: UN warns of possible crimes against humanity – The head of the UN human rights council indicated it is possible the government of Venezuela has been committing human rights violations against the citizens of the country. His concerns are the violence used to crush protests in recent months constitute human rights violations. In addition possible concern to the level of crime would include going after opposition leaders as criminal proceedings, arbitrary detentions and poor treatment of detainees which could constitute torture.

9/12/17 – Reuters – Venezuela Supreme Court has staged effective coup: jurists’ group – the International Commission of Jurists concluded the shenanigans by the Supreme Court effectively constitutes a coup d’état against democracy. Seizing legislative powers, taking constitutional powers with the national assembly, and giving a lot of arbitrary powers to the executive means those who have been wronged by the violence of the government have no recourse against the government.

Again, what economic system is it that forced 12-year-old girls into prostitution so their family doesn’t starve?

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