The World’s Saddest Craig’s List

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For Friday, April 1, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Venezuelans have turned social media into an urgent, desperate kind of Craig’s List, full of people pleading for medicines we can’t find by any other means. It’s a drama that’s getting worse, killing many with a lot less noise than a gunfight, but with the same pain and frustration. Facing death for an illness you know is curable, death from something modern medicine can easily treat, makes the search all the more traumatic. Today, the Codevida network, consisting of organizations working for the Right to Health and Life, ran a campaign under the hashtag #UnidosPorLaVida, where many patients and relatives explained their circumstances and demanded their rights.

Narniazuela

While VP Aristobulo Istúriz hands out musical instruments in Haiti and the Supreme Court of Brazil – by 8 votes to 2 – severs judge Sergio Moro from Petrobras’ corruption case, Nicolás celebrated our status as a fishing power, which we’re not. Now every announcement is made in the future tense – the love for the gerund is so yesterday –  and making sure to smile so your image is linked with an optimism that you disdain but hope to incarnate. He called for tuna fish not to reach resellers’ hands but the people, as if those people were aliens, because the time for national development “is now or is now.” This all comes just ahead of the Congreso de la Patria, a kind of chavista fiesta patronal, where they hope to inspire even the last of their disillusioned supporters.

Such is their faith in these celebrations that the reader of el finado’s fake medical reports, Ernesto Villegas, announced this Thursday that they will have brigades for agitation, communication and propaganda (he did not specify the proportion of people in each category) that will take to the streets, social networks and the media to protest against the Amnesty Law passed by the National Assembly. This declaration of a “street, media and digital offensive,” is somewhat open to interpretation, but impunity has already left a bitter taste this week in Táchira State.

Vielma Mora Out of Control

The clique in power has already come up with a different version of what happened in San Cristóbal. The murder of two young policemen becomes secondary to what’s important: that la derecha infiltrated the IUT student body and that the cop who blew the whistle on a political deal between the students and the governor is a puppet of previous governments. That’s governor Vielma Mora’s story, and he’s sticking to it. The same guy who insulted journalist Mariana Duque calling her a “liar” as often as he deemed necessary, but also threatened to monitor all media. It’s important for his words to be preserved in time.

Some come, others go

Carlos Correia, Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, arrived to the country this Thursday for his official visit that will last until April 5 and includes meetings with ministers and the military.

The Committee Meeting of the Socialist International will be held this Friday in Santo Domingo, with the paticipation of a group of deputies and Venezuelan activists. Luis Florido, president of the National Assembly’s Foreign Policy Commitee, has an agenda that includes introducing the Law on Amnesty and National Reconciliation, the request for international support to free political prisoners and an explanation of the institutional crisis created by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal, which has become a block to any legislative change.

In that regard, the secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) Ernesto Samper, called for dialogue in Venezuela -inspired by Pope Francis’ request- noting that, following the approval of the Amnesty Law, a train wreck is imminent.

It must be that fervent spirit which led the National Assembly to approve an Agreement regarding Pope Francis’ words in favor of dialogue and Peace in Venezuela, presented in a single text, built with the contributions of each side of the aisle. Deputies Juan Miguel Matheus and Earle Herrera went together to the speaker’s stand to read the full text, approved unanimously to applause and hugs.

Harassment

This Thursday, the president of the Universidad Metropolitana, Benjamin Scharifker, was accosted by National Police officers, who forced him to go home in an official vehicle where a heavily armed commando was waiting for him. After asking several times who he is, what he does for a living and who he knows, he was allowed to leave. The university’s authorities condemn this arbitrary detention, the violation of professor Scharifker’ rights, and they also warned about other situations that endanger the personal integrity and the lives of members of the university community. There’s no justification for this behavior.

A bomb, suffocation and darkness

This morning, a strong blast rocked the Oceanic Patrolling ship AB Guaiquerí (PO-11) docked at the Naval Base of Puerto Cabello. As has become usual, there’s no official information on casualties: numbers depend on the media outlet you prefer. The victims were supposedly taken to the Naval Hospital Francisco Isnardi, but the most important information – the reasons behind the explosion – remains a blank.

Calima

In Caracas, the smog is worsening and becoming dangerous. Any of its effects could be countered in a country with a normal supply of medicines, but not here. Smelling boiling eucalyptus is not the same as inhaling Salbutamol. Finally, Guri’s level drops slower than Nicolás’ popularity. The last known measure was 244.89 meters above sea level, very close to the 240 meters collapse area. Motta Dominguez keeps taking pictures at the dam, recreating something like “Debacle is” – life is about more than love, and he is ugly enough to understand that the nude is not his strong suit. We’re careening downhill with no brakes to embrace the darkness. Eso sí, coughing.

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