As we approach Thanksgiving, you may have heard (or personally experienced) that the cost of Thanksgiving…
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Stat of the Day: Thanksgiving Costs Up a Record 20%, but Prescription Drug Prices Decline

As we approach Thanksgiving, you may have heard (or personally experienced) that the cost of Thanksgiving dinner this year is up a record 20%.

Meanwhile, guess what's actually declined in price, according to the federal government itself.  That would be prescription drug prices, which declined 0.1% last month alone.

Perhaps the Biden Administration should focus on helping everyday Americans afford Thanksgiving, rather than artificially imposing innovation-killing government price controls on lifesaving drugs, which are actually declining in price and nowhere near the inflation rate afflicting other consumer costs.…[more]

November 17, 2022 • 11:48 AM

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Trump Treasury Department Must Allow Recovery from Venezuela's Socialist Confiscation Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, September 03 2020
The Trump Administration has rightly targeted Venezuela, along with other global malefactors like Iran and China, for its legal and human rights abuses. In order to maintain that record of respecting property rights and the rule of law, however, it must allow the victims of Venezuela’s socialist confiscation to enforce their legal rights here in America.

Venezuela, to everyone except hardened Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren acolytes, provides the latest abject lesson in socialism’s uninterrupted record of catastrophe.  

In the 1950s, Venezuela was the fourth-richest nation on Earth, and as recently as 1997 remained South America’s wealthiest nation.   Over the ensuing two decades under socialist dictator Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolás Maduro, however, Venezuela steadily descended to the starvation-level dystopia the world sees today.  In contrast, next-door Colombia offers a helpful counterpoint in the comparative superiority of market economics.  Once known for its unbearable violence, Colombia under law-and-order leaders like Álvaro Uribe ascended from the depths of cartel carnage to a safer and more prosperous prototype to next-door Venezuela.  

Whereas Barack Obama cordially greeted Chavez, the Trump Administration reversed course by openly lambasting Venezuela’s corrupt Maduro regime and recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as its rightful leader.  

Unfortunately, although the Trump Administration has broadly supported property rights and the rule of law both domestically and abroad, its Treasury Department inexplicably continues to deny a private company named Crystallex its ability to recover compensation for Venezuela’s illegal confiscation of its assets.  

Crystallex is a mining and exploration company, and like so many other private enterprises operating in Venezuela found itself the target of the Chavez-Maduro confiscatory agenda.  In 2011, Chavez commandeered the Las Cristinas goldmine, which directly and indirectly created innumerable jobs for Venezuelans locally and throughout the nation.  Prior to that appropriation, Crystallex had also invested millions of dollars in environmental protection tests, feasibility studies, infrastructure, employees and even local community projects like healthcare clinics.  

But that mattered not to Chavez and Maduro, and Crystallex’s property and improvements were simply confiscated by their socialist regime.  

To its credit, Crystallex fought back.  

In 2016, Crystallex filed a claim with a World Bank tribunal, which rightfully found Venezuela’s regime guilty of theft, and awarded $1.4 billion in damages.  Unsurprisingly, the Maduro regime refuses four years later to honor that ruling, but that doesn’t render it immune from recovery by Crystallex.  

Specifically, Crystallex pursued U.S.-based assets to satisfy its legal claim, such as Venezuelan state-owned CITGO petroleum company.  Those efforts proved fruitful, as Crystallex won victories at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the D.C. Court of Appeals and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.  In fact, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Crystallex’s favor and rejected Venezuela’s appeal.  

The Supreme Court’s ruling allows an auction of CITGO’s domestic assets, which can in turn satisfy Crystallex’s award.  

That’s where the problem involving the Trump Administration’s decision-making arises.  Although Crystallex possesses a rightful claim to legal recovery, the U.S. Treasury Department is exercising its power to prevent the aforementioned auction from proceeding due to the wishes of recognized Venezuelan President Guaidó.  He and his representatives assumed effective control of CITGO last year, and have resisted efforts by Crystallex and other deprived parties seeking restitution.  

The problem with the Treasury Department's calculus is that Maduro maintains his dictatorial grip in Venezuela, so the likelihood of Guaidó ever actually assuming the office of President is speculative at best.  In contrast, Crystallex possesses a clear, tangible and confirmed legal right to the compensatory assets in question.  

Simply put, as CFIF in coalition with a dozen fellow conservative and libertarian organizations has stated in a letter to the White House, that denies justice to a private company targeted and robbed by the Venezuelan kleptocracy:  

To be clear, we believe the principles at stake in this situation are much larger than a gold mine in Venezuela.  The course charted by the Trump Administration in the coming months will send a clear signal to property rights owners around the world.  If the U.S. government plays an active role in blocking the ability of private companies to be compensated for theft of their property from socialist dictators, it will contradict President Trump’s strong record of opposing socialism at home and abroad.  On the other hand, if the U.S. government provides a reasonable path forward for property owners, it will offer a strong rebuke of Hugo Chavez’s and Nicolas Maduro’s blatant disregard for free enterprise.  

The Trump Administration has rightly targeted Venezuela, along with other global malefactors like Iran and China, for its legal and human rights abuses.  In order to maintain that record of respecting property rights and the rule of law, however, it must allow the victims of Venezuela’s socialist confiscation to enforce their legal rights here in America.  

It’s time for the Treasury Department to correct course in this important test of American fortitude and respect for aggrieved parties like Crystallex.  

Quiz Question   
The first U.S. oil-producing well was founded in 1859 near which of the following towns?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"Florida is divesting from investment giant BlackRock, becoming the latest state to pull assets from the firm over its environment, social, and governance (ESG) policies.The Sunshine State's chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, announced Thursday that the Florida Treasury would immediately begin removing roughly $2 billion in assets from BlackRock's control in a process that should be completed…[more]
 
 
—Breck Dumas, Fox Business
— Breck Dumas, Fox Business
 
Liberty Poll   

Congress is debating adding $45 billion more than requested to defense spending for 2023. Considering a fragile economy and geopolitical threats, do you support or oppose that increase?