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Venezuela Stops Oil Shipments To Europe As Alternatives To Russian Energy Dry Up

Venezuela Stops Oil Shipments To Europe As Alternatives To Russian Energy Dry Up

The writing is on the wall for Europe in terms of this coming winter – It’s going to get ugly.  With natural gas imports from Russia cut by 80% through Nord Stream 1 along with the majority of oil shipments, the EU is going to be scrambling for whatever fuel sources they can find to supply electricity and heating through the coming winter.  Two sources that were originally suggested as alternatives were Iran and Venezuela.

Increased Iranian oil and gas exports to the west are highly dependent on the tentative nuclear deal, but as Goldman Sachs recently suggested, such a deal is unlikely anytime soon as deadlines on proposals have not been met and the Israeli government calls for negotiators to ‘walk away.’

Venezuela had restarted shipments to Europe after 2 years of US sanctions under a deal that allows them to trade oil for debt relief.  However, the country’s government has now suspended those shipments, saying it is no longer interested in oil-for-debt deals and instead wants refined fuels from Italian and Spanish producers in exchange for crude.

This might seem like a backwards exchange but Venezuela’s own refineries are struggling to remain in operation because of lack of investment and lack of repairs.  Refined fuels would help them to get back on their feet in terms of energy and industry.  Some of Venezuela’s own heavy oil operations require imported diluents in order to continue.  The EU says it currently has no plans to lift restrictions on the oil-for-debt arrangement, which means Europe has now lost yet another energy source.

Sanctions on Venezuela along with declining investments have strangled their oil industry, with overall production dropping by 38% this July compared to a year ago…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The End Of Venezuela’s Oil Era

The End Of Venezuela’s Oil Era

Venezuela, once Latin America’s largest oil producer and a founding member of OPEC, has seen its economically vital oil industry collapse triggering one of the worst economic and humanitarian crises of the century. The pain is far from over for Venezuela’s people and the country’s failing economy. Before 1920, Venezuela was a poor agricultural country facing many of the developmental issues plaguing Latin America. The country’s journey to becoming a crude oil superpower, leading petroleum state, and founding OPEC member began in 1914 with the drilling of the Zumaque well in the Mene Grande field on the eastern shores of Lake Maracaibo. This was Venezuela’s first commercial oil well and it launched a monumental oil boom that transformed the country and by 1950 saw it become the world’s fourth wealthiest nation per capita. Venezuela was not only heralded as Latin America’s richest nation but also its most developed. By the 1970s, the country, which is now a socialist dictatorship, was lauded as Latin America’s most stable democracy at a time when most nations in the region were ruled by military dictatorships. By the 1980s, Venezuela’s democracy was unraveling because of a global recession and sharply weaker oil prices. These events weighed heavily on the economy, and government spending, causing the country to spiral into debt. By the late-1980s Caracas had turned to the International Monetary Fund for help. The IMF recommended market-oriented neoliberal economic reforms including savage budget cuts, primarily impacting social programs such as public health and education. When these reforms were implemented by Caracas, they triggered considerable civil unrest. The reforms also sparked runaway inflation which only worsened the suffering of every-day Venezuelans. Those events illustrated the substantial dependence of Venezuela’s economy on oil and the country’s vulnerability to weaker prices…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuelans Turn to Gold Nuggets as the Local Currency Implodes

Venezuelans Turn to Gold Nuggets as the Local Currency Implodes

nug

The Venezuelan government recently lopped off six zeros from its hyperinflating currency, the bolivar. The highest denomination currency note of 1 million bolivars, worth less than $0.25, was replaced by a one-bolivar note. At the same time, a 100-bolivar note, worth about $25.00, was introduced as the new highest denomination of the bolivar. The currency conversion was designed to spare the government the embarrassment of having to issue a 100-million bolivar note to enable people to purchases everyday items without having to carry around bundles of notes, given that the price of a loaf of bread had risen to 7 million old bolivars. Of course, the arbitrary scaling down of the denomination of the currency will not slow inflation, because the new currency notes can be printed just as cheaply as the old. The bolivar has already lost 73 percent of its value in 2021 alone and the IMF estimates the annual inflation rate will reach 5,500 percent by the end of 2021.

It is not surprising, then. that all but the poorest Venezuelans have abandoned the bolivar as a medium of exchange, let alone a store of value or unit of account. US dollars are the exchange medium of choice in Caracas and other large cities, while the Colombian peso dominates along the Colombian border, particularly in the regional city of San Cristobal. The Brazilian real is current along the southern border with Brazil and the euro and cryptocurrencies have also found niche uses.

What is wonderfully surprising is the spontaneous emergence of a pure gold currency in a remote region of southeastern Venezuela around the towns of Tumeremo and El Callao. The region abounds with precious metal ores and has a long history of luring prospectors and miners seeking their fortunes…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The US Has Placed Itself In Charge Over Which Nations Get To Eat

The US Has Placed Itself In Charge Over Which Nations Get To Eat

Listen to a reading of this article:

The globally influential propaganda multiplier news agencies AP and AFP have both informed their readers that a “fugitive” has been extradited to the United States.

“Fugitive businessman close to Venezuela’s Maduro extradited to US,” reads the AFP headline.

“Alex Saab, a top fugitive close to Venezuela’s socialist government, has been put on a plane to the U.S. to face money laundering charges,” AP announced on Twitter.

You’d be forgiven for wondering what specifically makes this man a “fugitive”, and what that status has to do with his extradition to a foreign government whose laws should have no bearing on his life. The Colombian-born Venezuelan citizen Alex Saab, as it happens, is a “fugitive” from the US government’s self-appointed authority to decide which populations on our planet are permitted to have ready access to food. His crime is working to circumvent the crushing US sanctions which have been starving Venezuelan civilians to death by the tens of thousands.

Saab is being extradited from the African nation of Cabo Verde where he has been imprisoned since last year under pressure from the US government. In an article published this past May titled “Alex Saab v. The Empire: How the US Is Using Lawfare To Punish a Venezuelan Diplomat“, Roger D Harris explains how the US uses its domination of the international financial system to crush nations which disobey it and outlines the real reasons for Saab’s imprisonment, which has included torture and draconian living conditions. Harris writes:

Special Envoy and Ambassador to the African Union for Venezuela Alex Saab was on a humanitarian mission flying from Caracas to Iran to procure food and gasoline for the Venezuelan CLAP food assistance program. Saab was detained on a refueling stop in the African nation of Cabo Verde and has been held in custody ever since June 12, 2020.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Quick Reminder of How Venezuela RAN OUT of Food: Does This Look Familiar?

A Quick Reminder of How Venezuela RAN OUT of Food: Does This Look Familiar?

We’d all like to believe that the United States is on the road to economic recovery and that things are going to get better. Everyone wants to think the store shelves are just a few cargo ships away from being refilled. People want to believe that once 2020 is over, life will return to “normal” and that we’re just having a really bad year.

But someone pointed out an article I published four and a half years ago and when you look at the things which happened there and compare them to our situation, you may notice some uncanny similarities.

Here’s how Venezuela ran out of food.

In February of 2016, I wrote about what an economic collapse really looks like, using Venezuela as an illustration.

Venezuela:

The article begins when prepping began to be frowned upon by the Venezuelan government.

In 2013, many began to suspect that the outlook for Venezuela was grim when prepping became illegal.  The Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz, called on prosecutors to target people who are “hoarding” basic staples with serious sanctions.

Shortly thereafter, grocery stores instituted a fingerprint registry to purchase food and supplies. Families had to register and were allotted a certain amount of supplies to prevent “hoarding.” (source)

The United States:

Early in 2020, supplies began to be difficult to find due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the potential of a lockdown. When folks couldn’t find basics like toilet paper, fingers immediately began to point at “preppers” and “hoarders.”

The word “hoarding” is being repeatedly used throughout news reports. They’re already working to paint preppers as bad and selfish people. They’re already vilifying those who hurry out to fill any gaps in their supplies. They’re making it seem like a mental illness to get prepared for what could potentially be a long stretch of time at home with only the supplies you have on hand.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela Has Gone Cashless (And That’s Not All)

Venezuela Has Gone Cashless (And That’s Not All)

Writing about the current situation in my country is becoming increasingly difficult. Just checking my personal chats with all the information I receive is heartbreaking. People I have known my entire life are having a very hard time and are being harassed.

Collecting information from friends and acquaintances has been very hard for me. Writing about it all without feeling the effect has proven to be very challenging. Keeping the cold shadow over my heart at bay when I talk with people is the reason for the delay in my writing.

One of the biggest pieces of news recently is that Venezuela has gone almost completely cashless. But that’s not all.

What happened to the reported economic recovery?

Disinformation. That is what happened.

National cash is gone. Electronic is the only currency accepted. Some exceptions are made in border cities, like San Cristobal. USD or Colombian Pesos are accepted there.

Gini Coefficient is used to measure inequality. Ranging from (1) 0% to (1) 100%: a higher Gini coefficient means greater inequality. According to Gini, Venezuela is around 39. One of the lowest in the region, with a trend towards equity.

This is absolutely laughable.

Why? Two factors. The first one being the absence of reliable data on Venezuela. The World Bank estimates, due to lack of information, the economic chaos, and total absence of transparency, it is quite difficult to trace the data. Even if some data is found, it’s going to be very hard to verify it and can’t be trusted. The latest national survey on living conditions (Encovi) indicates this coefficient at 51, which would rank it as the most unequal in Latin America after Brazil.

What about the cost of essential items?

These are a few of the most recent food prices. Amidst crisis, chaos and a pandemic they have remained relatively the same.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UPRISING: Goliath Is Not Invincible

UPRISING: Goliath Is Not Invincible

Revolutions are difficult, writes Vijay Prashad. They must chip away at hundreds of years of inequality, erode cultural expectations and build the material foundations for a new society. 

Comando Creativo, History is watching us, Bellas Artes, Caracas, 2011.

The streets in the U.S. are on fire once more because of the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer and his accomplices in Minneapolis. Malcolm X once said “That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.”

A week before George Floyd was murdered, João Pedro Mattos Pinto (age 14) was killed by the police in Rio de Janeiro while playing in the yard of his house; a few days after his murder, Israeli occupation forces murdered Iyad el-Hallak (age 32), who worked in and attended a special needs school in Old Jerusalem. The foot on the neck of George Floyd, João Pedro and Iyad el-Hallak is the same foot that suffocates the Venezuelan people, who suffer each day from the U.S.-driven hybrid war.

Luis Cario, Now we are breathing, 2020.

Last year, while in Caracas, I walked with Mariela Machado in her housing complex known as Kaikachi in the neighborhood of La Vega. After Hugo Chávez was inaugurated president in 1999, a group of working-class residents of the city saw an empty piece of land and occupied it. Mariela and others went to the government and said, “We built this city. We can build our own houses. All we want are machines and materials.” The government supported them, and they built a charming multi-story complex that houses 92 families.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

VIPS MEMO: To the President—Avoid Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

VIPS MEMO: To the President—Avoid Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) urges Donald Trump to avoid the slippery slope toward armed conflict as an Iranian oil tanker nears Venezuela on Sunday.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Avoiding Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

Mr. President:

Recent U.S. rhetoric and actions against Venezuela — most immediately regarding Iran’s shipping of gasoline desperately needed during the pandemic — puts the U.S. at risk of an outbreak of dangerous and almost certainly counterproductive hostilities, not only in the Caribbean, but also in waters closer to Iran. As five Iranian tankers approach Venezuela, with the first due to arrive Sunday, hardliners in both Washington and Iran would relish a chance to give a bloody nose to the other side, but it may not be that simple. 

While the U.S. can invoke the Monroe Doctrine in Latin America, geography trumps doctrine. True, the U.S. holds the upper hand in the Caribbean. It does not have tactical advantage in the Persian Gulf — despite the formidable amount of U.S. weaponry already deployed in the area. We believe there is a good chance Iran will pick the Gulf as the place to retaliate for any quarantine or more warlike actions off Venezuela.

As former intelligence officers and other national security practitioners with many decades of experience, we understand the frustration your Administration feels as its “maximum pressure” campaign to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro enters its 17th month without much progress. Our purpose is not to defend Maduro, whose economic performance has alienated many and compounded Venezuela’s problems.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran & Venezuela Hail Victorious ‘Defiance’ Over US As 1st Tanker Is Escorted By Maduro Forces

Iran & Venezuela Hail Victorious ‘Defiance’ Over US As 1st Tanker Is Escorted By Maduro Forces

The first among five Iranian fuel-laden tankers has arrived in gasoline-starved Venezuela amid US threats to intervene against the ‘sanctions-busting’ activity by two official Washington enemies. 

Reuters reports: “The tanker, named Fortune, reached the country’s waters at around 7:40 p.m. local time (1140 GMT) after passing north of the neighboring dual-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon.”

Multiple tanker tracking monitoring sites have confirmed the arrival of the ‘Fortune’ off Venezuela’s coast last Saturday.

Maduro’s economy vice president and recently named oil minister celebrated on Twitter:  “The ships from the fraternal Islamic Republic of Iran are now in our exclusive economic zone,” amid broader claims of ‘victory’ on state media. 

And per Reuters“Venezuelan state television showed images of a navy ship and aircraft preparing to meet it.” 

The other trailing tankers are also expected to enter Venezuela’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or within 200 miles of the coast, in the coming days. 


Camila@camilateleSUR

Venezuela’s Yekuaka PO13 Ocean Patroller rendezvoused with the 1st Iranian tanker “Fortune” at 3pm on Saturday in international waters. This was the moment captured by @madeleintlSUR.

Embedded video

Iran’s IRGC-aligned Tasnim media hailed the safe arrival of the first tanker as “A turning point for Venezuela’s sovereignty and independence,” according to a state media report.

Over the past month Tehran and Caracas have become aggressively vocal in touting their “brotherhood” and joint defiance of Trump administration sanctions, for which US officials have recently threatened response, including the possibility of military intervention against the vessels in the Caribbean. Trump months ago reportedly ordered more Navy ships to the area to crackdown against what was dubbed the Maduro regime’s alleged narcotrafficking.


Iran@Iran

#Photos

First #Iran-flagged tanker Fortune reached the #Venezuela coasts while being escorted by the country’s navy forces

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

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Trump Sanctions Rosneft, Russia’s Largest Oil Company, For Helping Maduro In Venezuela

Trump Sanctions Rosneft, Russia’s Largest Oil Company, For Helping Maduro In Venezuela 

The Trump administration announced significant new sanctions on Tuesday targeting Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, for helping Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro circumvent U.S. sanctions. Specifically, the sanction targets Rosneft Trading SA, a unit of Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft, as well as company’s executive Didier Casimiro, over the company’s actions in Venezuela, senior administration official said in call with reporters.

The US accused Rosneft of propping up Venezuela’s oil sector, the admin official said, characterizing the company as the “primary culprit” of a campaign to evade Washington’s pressure campaign on the Maduro regime.

As the US further details, the network of deception sometimes involves transferring oil to new ship before sale, typically to Asia. Occasionally, ships will also change their names, or lie about source of oil. As McClatchy details, “the administration has accused Rosneft of sending tankers to Venezuelan ports without their tracking systems on — a violation of international law and a lifeline from sanctions on Venezuela’s own state-run oil company, PDVSA, that has allowed Maduro to indirectly sell oil to China and India. Officials also said that Rosneft was orchestrating a strategy of transferring Venezuelan oil in international waters for shipment to Asia and West Africa.”

US officials said that sanctions would hit Rosneft unit, as well as Casimiro’s U.S. assets but stand as worldwide prohibition, and warned that the new U.S. sanctions will affect “anyone engaging in activity” with Rosneft Trading S.A.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela collapse: looting, hunger, blackouts

Venezuela collapse: looting, hunger, blackouts

Looted grocery store in San Cristobal, Venezuela

Preface. Venezuela is experiencing a double whammy of drought and low oil prices, which has lead to blackouts and inability to import food, ultimately due to their oil production peaking in 1997.  The same fate awaits the U.S. someday when oil declines.

Related posts:

And Mexico may be the next to collapse, as you can read here.

***

2019. Venezuela’s Water System is Collapsing. New York Times.

In Venezuela, a crumbling economy and the collapse of even basic state infrastructure means water comes irregularly — and drinking it is an increasingly risky gamble. Scientists found that about a million residents were exposed to contaminated supplies. This puts them at risk of contracting waterborne viruses that could sicken them and threatens the lives of children and the most vulnerable.

The risks posed by poor water quality are particularly threatening for a population weakened by food and medication shortages. 

Electrical breakdowns and lack of maintenance have gradually stripped the city’s complex water system to a minimum. Water pumps, treatment plants, chlorine injection stations and entire reservoirs have been abandoned as the state ran out of money and skilled workers

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Asian oil production peaked above 8 mb/d for the period between 2008 and 2016 (with spikes in 2010 and 2015). The 2015 peak was mainly caused by peak oil in China. Since then Asia’s decline  was almost 800 kb/d or 9%.

Asia-Pacific-oil-production_BP-1965_2018
Fig 1: The Asian oil peak lasted 8 years

The rest of Asia peaked already in 2000 (the year Australia peaked) followed by a very modest decline of 1.1% pa. Let’s go through the countries one by one.

In the following, net oil imports are defined as the difference between oil consumption and production. Please see the note at the end of this post.

Indonesia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 2: Indonesia is in terminal production decline since the 1990s
Australia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 3: Australia’s net oil imports
Malaysia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 4: Malaysia is a net importer since 2010
Vietnam_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 5: Vietnam’s net imports are increasing fast
Thailand_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 6: Thailand was always a net importer

Thailand’s consumption increases faster than production.

India_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 7: India’s consumption exceeded 5 mb/d in 2018

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Military Surrounding Venezuela With New Deployment In Guyana

US Military Surrounding Venezuela With New Deployment In Guyana

The US military has effectively surrounded Venezuela, ahead of a possible military intervention. 

We’ve reported in the past that the Pentagon is jointly working with Colombia, Brazil and other regional partners on how to crush Venezuela’s economy so that President Nicolás Maduro would step down. 

Now there’s a new report that the US military has been deployed to the impoverished South American nation of Guyana, the first time in a decade. The country is located on South America’s North Atlantic coast and borders Venezuela to the West. 

The four-month-long deployment, led by the US Air Force, is called New Horizons humanitarian outreach – is intended to serve as “a stepping-stone toward a prolonged relationship” with the Guyana military forces, reported Military.com.


Strengthening Partnerships: @USAirForce #Airmen & @ForceGuyana members build a community center during #NewHorizons19 in #Guyana. The 3-month exercise trains U.S. military civil engineers & medical personnel as they provide care & services to local communities. #EnduringPromise8911:34 AM – Jun 13, 2019


The Air Force hopes relationships with the country can firmly develop amid the increasing influence of Russia and China in the region. 

Guyana is going to become a larger player in this region, both economically and politically in the future, so it’s important that we are closely tied with them,” said 12th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft in an interview.

“What we leave is an enduring, physical presence in addition to the partnerships that we build,” Croft boasted, citing medical facilities and schools built in 1997 that are still being used today.

The latest deployment is about 600 US military service members. Their purpose, as per Military.com, will be to construct community centers and a women’s shelter. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Society Is Only As Free As Its Most Troublesome Political Dissident

A Society Is Only As Free As Its Most Troublesome Political Dissident

You wouldn’t know it from any western mass media reporting as of this writing, but musician Roger Waters is about to perform the iconic Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” in front of the office of British Home Secretary Priti Patel in order to draw attention to the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Earlier this year, billionaire Richard Branson staged a “Live Aid”-stye concert in Colombia near the Venezuela border with the purported goal of helping the Venezuelan people. In reality the stunt was nothing other than a ploy to advance the entirely false narratives that President Maduro was blockading bridges and turning away all foreign aid, and the funds raised ended up being embezzledby the Trump-backed regime change opposition group led by US puppet Juan Guaido. The British mass media, however, went absolutely bananas over the story. Each word in this sentence ishyperlinked to a different story about the concert from mass media outlets in the UK alone. And that was a concert on the other side of the planet, while the Assange event is happening right in London, in front of the office of a prominent British official, featuring one of the greatest British rock musicians of all time.

This discrepancy tells you everything you need to know about the so-called “free press” in western society, and indeed about western society itself.

This discrepancy tells you everything you need to know about the so-called “free press” in western society, and indeed about western society itself.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump’s Blockade Begins: Venezuela Says Food Shipment Blocked In Panama Canal

Trump’s Blockade Begins: Venezuela Says Food Shipment Blocked In Panama Canal

Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has denounced what state media is describing as a ship seizure by the US in the Panama Canal Wednesday.

The ship is reportedly packed with 25 thousands tons of Soya and was entering the narrow vital central America waterway, when its progress was halted in an event which Maduro government officials have condemned as a “serious aggression” that impedes the country’s “right to food”. 

Panama Canal. Image source: Shutterstock

Though in the initial hours of Wednesday’s allegation major international media outlets had yet to confirm the claim, Rodriguez tweeted a statement, saying, “Venezuela denounces before the world that a boat that holds 25 thousand tons of Soya, for food production in our country, has been seized in the Panama Canal, due to the criminal blockade imposed by Donald Trump.”

“Venezuela calls on the UN to stop this serious aggression by DonaldTrump’s govt against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food,” the vice president added.

Venezuela exige a la ONU detener esta grave agresión del gobierno de @realDonaldTrump contra nuestra Patria que constituye una violacion masiva de los derechos humanos de toda la población venezolana al pretender impedir su derecho a la alimentación.

State media subsequently explained that the undisclosed owner of the vessel was informed by the insurance company that it must cease moving the cargo through the canal.

The serious allegation comes after on Monday President Trump signed an executive order imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela after a week ago the White House began signaling the US would seek to “quarantine” and fully “blockade” the Maduro regime if the socialist leader doesn’t immediately hand over power of his own accord. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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