No Electricity Also Means Staying Trapped in a Powerless Country

49
Photo: Bolívar Cúcuta

Imagine being a Colombian officer, or a Red Cross volunteer at the Simón Bolívar bridge at the Venezuela-Colombia border. You’ve grown used to the daily 400 thousand people influx and the noise and the chaos. One day you show up for work but, for some reason, there’s not that many people crossing the bridge. Doesn’t it seem absurd that Venezuelans are trapped on their side because Venezuela’s customs can’t stamp their passports during a power cut?

It’s exactly what you just read.

For the past two weeks the Andean region, alongside Zulia, Falcón, Miranda, Barinas, Bolívar and Portuguesa states, have fallen victims once again— to the regime’s absolute incompetence. 18-hour long blackouts are, according to Electrical Power Minister Motta Dominguez, due to critical “low levels of water” in several reservoirs. He also said this was a “product of Mother Nature.” Sigh.

If hospitals in these states are suffering power cuts causing people to die, why shouldn’t Saime offices be affected, too?

In this piece for El Pitazo, my fellow tachirense Lorena Bornacelly gathers testimonies on the growing struggle that is getting your passport stamped at the border ever since the blackouts began. The process could take up to four hours, but since Saime offices can’t work without power, the process is at least 12 hours long now.

They got there at 5 a.m. and waited with the other 200 people in queue. Although the process was supposed to start at 6 a.m., at 9:30 a.m. the offices were still dead with no power.

A Red Cross volunteer on the Colombian side says they’re worried about the elderly and children on the lines: “they must be tired and thirsty because over there (the Venezuelan side), people don’t even get water and temperature is really high.”

Despite the 500 people lining up on the Venezuelan side, it was hard to get any interviews, as the Venezuelan National Guard doesn’t allow anyone to take pictures or record videos.

Still, Bornacelly managed to collect some testimonies: Luisa and her 12-year-old spent the night at the border town of San Antonio, to be really early at Saime. They got there at 5 a.m. and waited with the other 200 people in queue. Although the process was supposed to start at 6 a.m., at 9:30 a.m. the offices were still dead with no power. Luisa was headed to Lima so she could get to Chile from there.

The Saime offices began working at 11:50 a.m., and the line moved slowly. It was at 5:50 p.m., when Luisa and her son finally got the stamp on their passports.

Johana, another Venezuelan in queue, denounced unscrupulous people charging 10$ to help you cut the lines. “All of this in front of the guards.”

So blackouts don’t just make living in Venezuela a dreadful experience; they make leaving  excruciatingly painful, too.

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49 COMMENTS

    • You are thinking of crossing a border in a plane.
      When you fly, your right to leave the country you are exiting is checked using the passenger list.
      If you have an outstanding warrant or a denuncio that prevents you from leaving country “A” to get to “B”, the passenger list will be checked and you will be held when you try to board the plane.

      At a land border, you need to legally check out of country “A”, before you enter country “B”. This is done with an exit stamp on country “A’s” side. Country “B” can now see you were legally allowed to leave Country “A”.

      • I learned something today. I did not know that. Awesome.

        I am 54 years old, and I live on a state that borders Canada. I haven’t ever crossed the border except by plane. Nor Mexico.

          • I live in the tropical southern part of Minnesota (Rochester area). I have been flown into fishing camps (Ontario, Manitoba) numerous times, but never driven over the border. Fort Francis/International Falls is about 6.5 hours drive from where I live.

        • When driving between Canada and the United States, you are checked once: by the authorities of the country into which you are driving.

          Otherwise, if we did not work together this way, toward mutually beneficial gains, the border would be a freaking nightmare on a holiday weekend, we both would be paying a heck of a lot more for the vast volume of trade that goes on between our countries every day, and it would be easier for “bad dudes” to move around undetected.

          This is one of the many things that distinguishes mature, developed economies with rule of law that operate on common standards and mutual respect, from economically ruined and/or lawless countries whose leaders invariably play off fear of foreigners for political gain, and which are always, absurdly enough, the more complicated countries to get into or out of at any given time, and which invariably punish the good and reward the bad in that process of transit.

          • Americans didn’t need to be checked going into Canada by car before 9/11.

            After the U.S. instituted more stringent border controls, Canada…in its typically stupid tit-for-tat philosophy…”retaliated” with stricter controls for Americans driving into Canada.

            As if there’s anything worth blowing up there in the first place, and totally ignoring the reason for America’s tighter controls.

            Not to mention that long, long ago, Canada caved in to the Islamic bullshit that’s polluting the entire world.

            Canada really sucks, you know?

          • Right Ira. We used to just check the Canadians crossing into Canada. We identified them by their toques.

          • There are exceptions to what I typed (Canada/US).
            But, I will use the examples of Panama and Costa Rica.
            Neither one is ruined or lawless, yet unlike driving to Canada, their migracion computer systems are not connected.
            If there is a warrant in Costa Rica, Panama does not know about it.
            So, the traveler, will have to “exit” Costa Rica and then walk across the street and “enter” Panama at each countrys’ migracion.

            Neither will allow entrance without the “exit” from the other country.
            These borders are peaceful and well crossed. You do not have to “exit” one country to enter the other. The border is not a wall but an invisible line down the street.
            People from nearby towns will enter the other country without checking with immigration to buy items that are cheaper on one side or another and then go home without formally going through migracion.
            If you live in Paso Canoas, you can cross the border 15 times every day and you won’t be checked.

            Both countries will have additional migracion/Customs checks further down the road because the border is so porous.

            This “exit” stamp requirement is used throughout central america because the countries do not know if the person leaving country “A” is wanted in country “A”.

          • “This is one of the many things that distinguishes mature, developed economies with rule of law that operate on common standards and mutual respect, from economically ruined and/or lawless countries whose leaders invariably play off fear of foreigners for political gain, and which are always, absurdly enough, the more complicated countries to get into or out of at any given time, and which invariably punish the good and reward the bad in that process of transit.”

            You sly dog. As I started reading that paragraph I was sure you were setting us up for a Trump-bash, eh. Cheers and Happy Easter!

        • Every country has its particularities on that.
          As an EU national I have flown outside the EU and
          EU authorities have just taken a brief look at my passport
          without stamping it or checking anything on a computer.

          What I find depressing: whereas here in Europe
          I can travel from Estonia to Portugal by showing just my national ID and only on a plane, no control on roads, Venezuelans need such a gruesome check
          to visit a country that used to be so similar to them.

      • In Venezuela, as in many other countries, you pass immigration and they stamp your passport when leaving from an airport or seaport, as well as crossing a border by land.

        They used to do this in the U.S. too, until about thirty years ago.

    • Records have always been kept in Venezuela, since forever, of both entry and exit at all international ports.

      IN fact not only are you supposed to get a stamp upon exit, you are also supposed to be checked against a list of people that are forbidden from leaving. Back in the day that meant from a legal situation, but today it can also be just because……..

    • “Why would you need to have your passport stamped when LEAVING the country?”

      Because that’s called the “Tyranny of the stamp”, in chavista Venezuela, if a chavista employee deems you “unworthy”, theyn won’t stamp your pasport to extort a bribe from you.

      • If memory serves me correct. All you needed was a “solvencia” as proof that you have paid your taxes. Heh, Heh, Heh, in a country where tax evasion is a national sport.

  1. Just a quick correction, in the UN tweet within the Desifrado link (first one) they use the number of 40,000. I think they got the number wrong in the title.

  2. NO electricity will mean that lots lots of people will be pissed off at the regime because all the inconvenience that the lack of electricity entails , you cant buy things if there are no punto de venta , you have to suffer the sweltering heat if there are no air conditioning , there will be no tv nor radio , traffic lights wont work , people living in building will have to walk many stairs to get to their appartments or destination if they dont get trapped in an elevator , some gas stations will not be able to pump the gasoline your car needs , the list of inconveniences is endless not to mention really ill people in hospitals that will die or suffer from the loss of electricity were they are being given medical attention . Add to that the water rationing and shortages of all kinds that afflict the life of any tipical Venezuelan and what you have is a huge huge number of people who hate the govts guts for the way its made their daily lives miserable in a hundred different ways not to mention the impat of hyperinflation making it impossible to feed oneself or ones family.

    • Yeah, which is why I’m stocking on popcorn for the summer, see how the allegedly ‘bravo pueblo’ can handle standing in line under the Maracaibo or Barlovento sun, begging for clapcrap and calnes de la patria.

  3. I agree with Waltz, something smells fishy here. VZ has a population of 30 million. If 400 thousand leave daily, then the country will be totally deserted in about 2.5 months.

  4. More good news!

    PDVSA could close three of four local refineries soon
    https://www.lapatilla.com/site/2018/03/26/pdvsa-podria-cerrar-tres-de-cuatro-refinerias-locales-proximamente/

    “…Negative perceptions of political risk also killed PdVSA’s negotiations with Rosneft and PetroChina, the union officials added. The government-controlled Constituent Assembly (ANC) would have approved Amuay and Cardon leases to the Russians and Chinese, but according to the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution those agreements would have been illegal and probably would not survive a change of government if the President Nicolas Maduro out of office in the May presidential election or if the army forces him to resign as president.

    PdVSA and the Ministry of Energy declined to comment”

    • That may help balance the budget, as less practically free gasoline will be produced. Bachaqueros will be pissed at not having as much gasoline to smuggle.

  5. “…to the regime’s absolute incompetence. ”

    There’s the rumor going on that they are actually diverting the electricity power for two purposes:

    1) To subjugate the people and keep them impoverished by destroying their appliances and stored food.

    2) To power huge warehouses filled with thousands of crypto-currency mining machines.

  6. A bit off-topic, but still worth mentioning.

    I had a conversation with two guys this morning here at the bodega. Had never seen them before but figured they were from out-of-town visiting for Semana Santa. Very friendly. One kept asking for prices of many products and then looking at the other in surprise as I quoted them. Wasn’t sure if our prices seemed high or low so I finally asked, “you guys from Caracas……prices significantly different there?”.

    Nope. They’ve been working the gold mines they told me. According to these guys, they have just about every type of food one can ask for in Venezuela, have it in volume, and can purchase it at about half the price of what it costs anywhere else, IF it can even be found anywhere else.

    They bought a number of products and paid for everything with the new 100,000 bs notes.

    So, thinking this through, knowing that the military controls the entry and distribution of food within the country, apparently they’re not nearly as concerned about starving citizens around the country as they at making sure the gold miners are fat and happy.

    Color me shocked.

    • I am not surprised to read about it at all. It is business 101. You need water? You go to the well. Feed the rainmakers. I know who creates wealth for my own company (custom cabinets, home builder). I answer their phone calls on the first ring.

      The military controls the oil, the food and transportation. Let Maduro worry about everything else. The military will remain long after Maduro is gone.

    • From what I have read, PDVSA people have trouble getting adequate food supplies, and oil is much more important to the economy than gold. So why do gold miners have no problem getting food and PDVSA people have a problem getting food? My guess is some milico is getting a nice bribe.

      Which reminds me of the Soborno Santo paid to traffic cops during Semana Santa.

      Keep the stories coming, MRubio.

      • “From what I have read, PDVSA people have trouble getting adequate food supplies, and oil is much more important to the economy than gold. So why do gold miners have no problem getting food and PDVSA people have a problem getting food? My guess is some milico is getting a nice bribe.”

        A valid observation BT, though I’d point out that PDVSA is also filled with people paid to do literally, nothing. I doubt that’s the case in the mining arc. I hear lots of stories of very hard work, high personal risks of injury and disease, but relatively good pay. I’ve not witnessed the working conditions in the arc myself.

        I’ve got a good buddy, an engineer, who works for PDVSA and he tells me many stories of what’s going on on the inside. And as mentioned previously, I’ve also witnessed personally the scene of 30 dressed-in-red PDVSA workers cutting grass with machetes on the side of the highway in front of their installations where a single guy on a tractor with a bushhog could do the same in a fraction of the time. Heck, 10 guys with swing blades versus machetes could do the work in half the time.

        Dunno.

        I’m beginning to wonder if this might be an indication of how far dowin the toilet drain PDVSA has fallen and if this regime is seeing gold mining as some reasonable stop-gap measure for its hard currency woes. As this article, and others point out, workers are abandoning PDVSA in droves while most of what I hear is that people are headed to the mining arc. Money, in the form of cash, is most definitely headed in that direction as I’ve heard that from multiple persons doing business down there. My neighbor told me this morning that his son is now working down there as well. I’ll see what additional info I can glean.

        About a week ago a guy came by offering to sell gold, 4,000,000 bs per gram in cash, 8,000,000 bs via transfer….90% pure he claimed. I did not ask him how much he had available. This morning I asked the guys at what price gold was being sold and they said 4,900,000 bs per gram. I wanted to get more info out of them but was working alone and rather busy. I’d like to understand in what form the miners are working, how they’re being compensated, etc. Are those selling gold smuggling it out, paid in gold?

        Has CC done any articles on the mining arc, specifically how the gold is being mined, working conditions, pay relative to other work available in the country, damage to the environment, etc? It would be a worthy topic of discussion here I would think.

        • Current spot price of gold is US $43.33 a gram, which works out to 93,000 Bs/$US.

          With people leaving PDVSA in droves, they won’t be able to get out their product, which would make gold a potentially better cash flow alternative. Or maybe this is a simple case of hedging bets in the event of PDVSA collapse.
          I imagine that enchufados have been trying to maintain THEIR cash flows of stolen $$ during the oil price collapse, which has made paying living wages to PDVSA people more problematic.

          In bad times, corporations will lay people off. PDVSA bloated its personnel count after firing the 18,000 strikers in 2002-03, which makes the bad times even worse. Instead of laying people off, PDVSA is apparently not paying them- encouraging people to walk. But when productive people, not just the deadwood, walk away, there will be production problems.

          I would never in my worst dreams have imagined that YPFB, the Bolivian government’s oil company, would be better off than PDVSA. Worst dreams have arrived.

          It is difficult to ascertain Chavista policy- gold versus oil- because too many higher ups are running around like the proverbial chickens with their heads cut off.

          • “Current spot price of gold is US $43.33 a gram, which works out to 93,000 Bs/$US.”

            That spot price is, of course, for gold that’s 99.99% pure versus this stuff which is claimed to be 90%. I did a quick calc at the time the first guy told me he was selling at 4,000,000 bs (cash) per gram, and using a black market dollar rate of something a bit over 200,000 bs to the $, and 90% pure versus 99% pluse, came up with a price of about $20 per gram, or roughly half the price of the going rate elsewhere.

            Of course, any major buyer of gold in this form would require an assay (no idea the costs) versus someone trading a Kruggerrand, Maple Leaf, or other well-recognized gold coin which requires no assay.

            This conversation has piqued my interest in the subject of this country’s current gold mining operations and I’ll see what I can learn from some of those doing the actual work on a daily basis since I’m having more regualar contact with them. I’ve got to believe there’s some major environmental damage underway, especially if mercury is involved in the extraction process.

          • I forgot the difference between end of the market 99% pure and right out of the ground- and the transport involved. Just like $5/bushel wheat turns into a dollar or two or more for a loaf.

            Years ago, when I was on a 5 day hike in the Peruvian Andes, on the last night I finally saw a house- or better said, a stone hut. I was invited in for the night. The owner told me that he sold gold to a guy who came in from Lima. He told me what he sold the gold for, and wanted to know how that compared to the market price of gold. As I recall, he got paid about half the world price of gold, which at the time to me seemed a ripoff. Now I realize he was getting market price, comparable to what your gold hounds were getting. The guy from Lima wasn’t going to make the trip to the mountains to sell the gold in Lima for what he paid for it in the mountains.
            I was fortunate to see Peru before Sendero Luminoso made it a practice to shoot tourists.

          • I forgot the difference between end of the market 99% pure and right out of the ground- and the transport involved. Just like $5/bushel wheat turns into a dollar or two or more for a loaf.

            Years ago, when I was on a 5 day hike in the Peruvian Andes, on the last night I finally saw a house- or better said, a stone hut. I was invited in for the night. The owner told me that he sold gold to a guy who came in from Lima. He told me what he sold the gold for, and wanted to know how that compared to the market price of gold. As I recall, he got paid about half the world price of gold, which at the time to me seemed a ripoff. Now I realize he was getting market price, comparable to what your gold hounds were getting. The guy from Lima wasn’t going to make the trip to the mountains to sell the gold in Lima for what he paid for it in the mountains.
            I was fortunate to see Peru before Sendero Luminoso made it a practice to shoot tourists. One positive outcome of the Sendero nightmare is that it made Peruvians much less likely to fall for leftist claptrap. In addition, having already seen military socialism w Velasco et al from 68-80, they looked at El Finado and said, “been, there, done that.”

        • MRubio
          I’ve tried to glean information on PDVSA production.
          OPEC and the US Energy Information Agency statistics are about the best I can come up with.
          The US EIA is reporting US imports from Venezuela for December 2017 being 3,480.000 barrels for the entire month. That is a little over 100,000 barrels per day. Venny crude historically sells for about $10 less per barrel than WTI. Ballpark estimate of the price at $50, leaves less than $6 million per day in gross income. The closing of the 3 refineries due to lack of crude, implies that higher imports of refined products will be necessary. Substantially reducing any hard cash coming into the PDVSA / regime’s coffers.
          Venezuelan oil production for February 2018 is reported to average 1.58 million BPD. I’ve said it before, PDVSA is not producing and selling enough oil to cover the lift costs associated with the over 1 million barrels per day that are going to China. Russia, Cuba and other Caricom nations.
          In the near future, the oil and other support going to Cuba will have to end. Without credit there is no way to keep feeding the Castro regime. This may be the long game that the US is playing. A collapsing Cuba that limits Cuban influence and possibly results in regime change. What a coup that would be for President Trump.
          Until the the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba was receiving about $5 billion per year from Moscow. Adjusted for inflation that figure would probably be double today. I doubt Putin is willing to take Cuba back on as a welfare state.
          On the other hand, It is much easier to smuggle gold ingots than it is to smuggle or hide barrels of oil. The focus on the mining arc may be the last ditch effort of the regime to steal anything left before they leave power.
          Trading Economics is showing Venezuelan gold reserves at 184 tonnes. This is down from 361 tonnes in January 2016. I can’t find information on VZLA gold exports. Most likely that means they aren’t being reported. The mining arc is being used for the personal benefit of the regime in my opinion. Not to help the people. All of the focus has been on oil. It may be that the mining arc is where the real money is being made.

          • The US EIA is reporting US imports from Venezuela for December 2017 being 3,480.000 barrels for the entire month. That is a little over 100,000 barrels per day.

            I don’t know what link you used, but here is contradicting information from the EIA: the US had net imports from Venezuela of 400,000 BBL/Day in December 2017. That is definitely a downward trend, as net imports averaged 720,000 BBL/D in 2016, but not as extreme a downward trend as you reported.

            U.S. Net Imports from Venezuela of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products Thousand Barrels per Day
            Dec-17 400
            Nov-17 467
            Oct-17 525
            Sep-17 582
            Aug-17 552
            Jul-17 616
            Jun-17 555
            May-17 688
            Apr-17 764
            Mar-17 698
            Feb-17 657
            Jan-17 655

            You need to rewrite your argument.

            https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTNTUSVE2&f=M

          • My Mistake
            I went back and looked and realized I was looking at US exports to Venezuela. It did seem like the drop had been pretty quick.
            https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_expc_dc_NUS-NVE_mbbl_m.htm
            That still reduces net oil exported to the US by about 1/3.
            Garnering the regime roughly $15 million per day? I don’t know how much the lift costs are. The last reported numbers were around $25 per barrel. With no real labor costs compared to when the Bolivar had a value. It still doesn’t seem that they can cover lift costs when only a fraction of production is generating cash flow.
            Deferred maintenance and capital expenditures are coming back to bite them with decreasing production capacity.

          • Putting together price and import data, in December the US paid $58.27/BBL for Venezuelan oil @ 400,000 BBL/d, which would be $23 million a day. In 2011, Venezuela was getting $89 million a day from US imports; in 2013, $70 million a day.

            https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTNTUSVE2&f=M
            https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=ive0000004&f=m
            https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=ive0000004&f=m

          • “A collapsing Cuba that limits Cuban influence and possibly results in regime change. What a coup that would be for President Trump.”

            While I’m not yet ready to assume Cuba to be “collapsing”, there’s no doubt that with Raul’s age and his handing over power (at least publicly) to his successor, Trump may see a perfect storm developing as it relates to Cuba and Venezuela.

            Perhaps he can continue to squeeze chavismo’s testicles while perhaps sending signals to Cuba’s new owners that they might be better off considering other options as it relates to Venezuela.

            Dunno, but there’s little doubt that, at least as it relates to oil production, PDVSA may be near the tipping point.

      • Back in 1990 I remember seeing a villa of a military high on a nearby hill in Santa Elena de Guairén. Some years later I saw how they let illegal miners transit as they pleased.
        Things are much much worse now but as I have said a thousand times, Venezuela is an utterly feudal country
        where the military mid and high echelons have huge hunting grounds, private beaches when no one else can and get their
        extra payments through alcabalas etc.

  7. “..the regime’s absolute incompetence. 18-hour long blackouts are, according to Electrical Power Minister Motta Dominguez, due to critical “low levels of water” in several reservoirs. He also said this was a “product of Mother Nature.” Sigh.”.

    1/ The Genocidal Narco-Regime is not ‘incompetent’ here, they are incredibly competent and adept, highly skilled Mega-THIEVES. How competent? Ask the astute Derwick brothers, for example, and many others living the billionaires’ life in Europe, after the juicy sale of their used Ethiopian or Tanzanian ‘power plants’.

    When it comes to MEGA-THIEVERY and GALACTIC EMBEZZLEMENT, Kleptozuela’s Tropical the Tyrants are extremely competent. That’s why they created the Clapcrap guiso, or ‘Cadivi’, an apparently ‘incompetent’ suit, and the exchange controls, so ‘ineptly’, huh? Highly successful and adept schemes for them to STEAL, comprende? Heck, they can even venture into the more complex, technological waters or crypto-currencies to STEAL even more. How’s that for the commonly alleged “incompetence”? Wanna talk about incompetence? Talk about the opposition and the media, that see Chavismo’s highly successful and competent THIEVERY schemes as just incompetence or maladroitness. Who’s fooling whom?

    2/ “Product of Mother Nature”.. Pray to Maria Lionza and dance to all the gods of rain for the incredibly ignorant and uneducated Kleptozuelan pueblo-people.. The Complete Cubanization of Kleptozuela in its final phases. Highly successful brutalization of the remaining masses, that are now waiting in line like Zombie-Sheep (live sheep are way more alert) for their ‘calnes de la patria’ and their clapcrap limosnas, and for Mother Nature to let it rain, so they can have some occasional intermittent electricity. Pathetic.

  8. If VZ is betting the farm on The Petro crypto currency, then how does it expect citizens to conduct transaction with Petros if there is no power?

  9. An interesting article in the PanAm Post regarding the mistreatment and deportation of Venezuelans from Mexico.
    This is the same Mexican government that condemns anything the US does to try to control our borders and rein in the organized crime gangs that freely cross between the US and Mexico.
    Practice what you preach is such a trite adage and yet so fitting.

    https://es.panampost.com/orlando-avendano/2018/03/21/venezolanos-denuncian-maltratos-y-deportaciones-de-mexico/

    Where are the US liberals when it comes to condemning the Mexican government deporting refugees? Mexico needs some sanctuary cities. The Pope should be condemning these inhumane deportations.
    Hypocrites.

    • Any American trying to work in Mexico without the proper paperwork will get his ass in a sling in a hurry. I was surprised to learn that.

      In the late 90’s I opened a company in Mexico providing services and equipment to Pemex. We worked mostly in the south of the country, Tabasco, Vera Cruz, the area where my office was based, but also leased equipment along the border with the US. Before visiting my operations several times a year, my Mexican company manager would always walk me through exactly what to say, and not to say, as I applied for my visa upon entering the country.

      Same held true for their version of the IRS, the Hacienda it was called, IIRC. Boy were they some strict and unforgiving bastards. Mexico is definitely not Venezuela.

      • I just find it hypocritical that Mexico criticizes any US immigration enforcement by the US when they are returning refugees to Venezuela.
        It is similar to the Pope Criticizing candidate Trump for wanting to build a wall on the border as he was returning to the walled off Vatican.
        Money sent to Mexico from Mexicans in the US amounts to more money than Pemex makes.
        In the end, it is always about the money.
        On a different subject, did you see the message I posted for you about Seeds of Change sending seeds to Maria? I’m not sure how many packets or what types are en-route. I received an e-mail saying that they were being sent. I answered it and thanked them but I haven’t had a reply. I included about 50 packets from them in the last shipment.
        Any updates on Crystal? I hope that she is still recovering.
        Have a good Easter and prayers for a much better one next year.

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