No one surrenders here

Your daily briefing for Saturday, February 27, 2016

For Saturday, February 27, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

That was the hashtag used by Government outlets -along with their bots- as a response to the opposition’s campaign demanding Nicolás’ resignation. The demand is fed by increasingly outlandish rumors, and will now be spearheaded by Voluntad Popular, while the MUD agrees on which constitutional method to use to end this catastrophic regime.

Prensa Presidencial’s Twitter account posted a series of tweets along the day, about achievements that would indeed make resignation unnecessary if they were verifiable: public policies that have endured through time; investments instead of waste. The arrogance of their propaganda machine isn’t even surprising anymore, but it’s still insulting. And so are the parallel agendas carried out by sectors of the opposition that still fail to learn from their mistakes. They keep talking about presidential elections in a country without bread.

Surrendered to poverty

In a forum organized by Cedice, María Gabriela Ponce, a researcher at UCAB’s Institute of Economic and Social Research, said that poverty levels in Venezuela had grown alarmingly high. Her analysis of everything from economic growth, inequality, employment to years of schooling, confirms that public spending hasn’t done anything to solve the structural reasons for poverty, it has instead followed a pattern of advancements and setbacks, supported on oil prices, which have relieved income poverty, but have failed to roll back chronic or structural poverty, since resources haven’t been used to increase people’s capacities. Our poverty level now is worse than what we had in 1998.

A condescending ombudsman

This Friday morning a march left Plaza Venezuela headed for the Ombudsman’s Office to protest the crisis in the healthcare system. The same National Guard that was so reticent yesterday to escort chavista partisans out of the Parliament Chamber, was quite willing today to cooperate with the National Police to prevent protesters from reaching their destination, and exercise their constitutional right to demand the Government take concrete steps to counter the shortage of supplies and medicines.

Freddy Ceballos, president of the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela, managed to deliver a document to the Ombudsman’s Office demanding that Nicolás and Tarek William Saab respect patients’ circumstances and take immediate action: “People are dying for lack of medicine rather than from their illnesses (…) we have a shortage of medicines of 80% (…) There are no diagnostics because hospitals ran out of reagents. How will we know the diseases we’re suffering if there aren’t even reagents to carry out routine tests?”

Later, the Ombudsman said that he had talked with the Health Minister, Luisana Melo, about our country’s healthcare situation, and that he’s calling for a bilateral meeting to seek positive and viable options: “With everyone’s cooperation, the private sector, the laboratories and the Executive Branch (…) we’ll overcome this.” A meeting won’t pay for the millions that the Government owes pharmaceutical suppliers, the real bottleneck of this terrible situation. Stopping a protest doesn’t ease the problems that inspired it.

The same as always

Luis Francisco Cabezas, president of Casas de Abuelos Miranda, said that the phone system recently announced by Nicolás (0800 Salud Ya), created to provide service to people who need medicines, won’t solve the present situation. The Health Ministry already created a system that would inform registered patients when their medicines became available, but it amounted to little. Even Nicolás himself admitted it in a cadena, the day the pharmaceutical engine was activated. The only solution to this tragedy is supplying the market and for that, the Government must pay its debts.

No, for now.

On October, 2015, the Central Bank of Venezuela sued and its shareholders, for enrichment at the expense of the institution and the people by manipulating foreign currency prices, in an attempt to create the illusion that the country’s economy couldn’t be in the hands of a more solvent institution and government.

In December, DolarToday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which the Central Bank countered. In February this year, the company requested the lawsuit be dismissed on the grounds that it had no arguments and the accusations were inadmissible. And so we come to the decision made by the U.S. District Court in the State of Delaware, dismissing the Central Bank’s lawsuit because it has no jurisdiction on the matter; but the Central Bank could change the subject matter of the lawsuit so that the Court has jurisdiction. Anything will do to create the enemy they need, a scapegoat to free them from responsibility.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.