This August 17th

Your daily briefing for Thursday, August 18, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

For Thursday, August 18, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.

There are days to forego the briefing. Besides the colossal headache closing my night, listening to Diosdado say, with his usual arrogance, that Ban Ki-moon was “misinformed” when talking about Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, merely increases my need for a few milligrams of acetaminophen. That’s chavismo’s only key message: don’t use the term despite the hunger, because doing so fuels the risk of foreign intervention.

But they have no problem with punishing Venezuelans themselves. That’s why Sundde threatened to fine bakeries with queues, because according to the National Superintendent of Fair Prices, William Contreras, there’s a political intention behind shortages -besides the PSUV’s control, there’s no problem with that one-, daring to say that raw materials are arriving with normality to the country. The same beings who vindicate El Caracazo as the genesis of “people’s awakening” and adopted the coup on February 4th as their foundational date, now condemn potentially insurrectional protests. This Wednesday. AN deputy Julio Chávez -with the average chavista’s argumentative capacity- declared as much, emphasizing the consequences of such a reckless course of action.

And despite all the analyses that have been made about the recent wage increase, about its direct consequences on employment stability, the shutdown of companies that are unable to pay for it and the considerable evidence of the failure of the PSUV’s economic model -if there’s such a thing-, this Wednesday the vice-minister of labor said that they don’t rule out another increase by year’s end. Meanwhile, Vielma Mora keeps focused on his needs: a single currency at the border, more gas to sell at international prices and the request to Colombia to include car spare parts among the goods that can be acquired in that country.

With Eulogio Del Pino in Oman and Delcy who knows where, Mercosur keeps being the source of important tensions, with Brazil’s Foreign Affairs minister stating that an authoritarian regime can’t head that institution and his Argentine counterpart still faithful to the ambivalence denounced by Vivanco from Human Rights Watch this Tuesday. Susana Malcorra says that she hasn’t been pressured by anyone and adds that she’s working for this conflict about the bloc’s presidency to be solved quickly.

The questionable minister Néstor Reverol announced the restructuring of the Bolivarian National Police and the Corps of Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations. As a sort of mockery to his words, in Cagua (Aragua state) and Catia, chavista armed groups harassed protesters and journalists, with just as much or even more impunity than the one that left six people dead in a shootout in El Valle, like any other day. But this is solved by surrounding the Bello Monte morgue with a fence, with the government’s absurd notion that, if a journalist doesn’t report on it, it didn’t happen. That’s the same logic behind the PSUV’s decision not to participate in the National Assembly’s Committee charged with choosing to new CNE rectores: if we’re not there, it won’t happen; and if it happens, we can resort to the accusation of contempt and let the TSJ figure it out.

In Cagua, protesters were only retired teachers, while in the Periférico de Catia, they were doctors and relatives of patients, desperate for the health care crisis. A crisis that could find some relief in donations, like the one made by Brazilian (and Barcelona) football player Dani Alves, but the government won’t let the medicines he donates for Hepatitis C into the country. While The New York Times reports on malaria’s worrisome spread in Venezuela, experts say that the increase in tuberculosis cases in Maracaibo could be related to malnutrition. Additionally, an important group of NGOs complained about the implications of poor local internet speeds in several areas, from the right to education, to the proper operation of any private or public organization. That’s why the $400,000 spent on the trip to Cuba to celebrate Fidel Castro’s birthday is an insult to any Venezuelan.

Our everyday depreciation returns, subtle and precise, with the Simadi exchange rate closing at Bs. 646.32 while the black market rules even the price of a sweet bun. The virtuoso maestro Carlos Cruz-Diez celebrated his 93rd anniversary this Wednesday, one of the greatest of op art and cinetism, now sadly related to our diaspora, to that floor in Maiquetía that so many have photographed as a parting ritual.

Truly, there are days to forego the briefing, but discipline is what it is.

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.