I couldn’t afford to keep him

The crisis has made it impossible for me to properly raise a child. I can’t afford to keep myself alive, much less could I keep him

Those were the words of an unidentified 32 year old woman in the town of Zaraza, Guárico state (my family’s hometown) who attempted to have an abortion on her eighth month of pregnancy. The child somehow survived, to which, upon birth, she suffocated him and buried him in the back yard. CICPC officer Oswaldo Morales reported the women desperately crying: “The crisis has made it impossible for me to properly raise a child. I can’t afford to keep myself alive, much less could I keep him.”

Revenge and Vacuna

A normal Sunday softball match in the Universidad del Zulia’s baseball field was interrupted by the shooting of Moisés Lugo, the first base man. Unidentified witnesses report three men arriving in a blue Chery Arauca, two of them getting out of the car and buying pastelitos. When people realized they were armed, they panicked and ran into the Sports Direction’s offices, but there was no time for Lugo to react, and he was killed. It was later found that Lugo had participated in a drug related gang called Los Matos, and had a criminal record. Speculation points to vengeance as the motive.

In Los Olivos, Ocumare del Tuy, a simple farmer, his son, and his helper, were shot to death for refusing to pay vacuna. This is an everyday term in Venezuelan organized crime. What it implies is that someone living or working in an area controlled by one or many gangs is expected to pay a sum of money for a gang’s protection or, at least, to be left alone. In this case, Juan Ramón Guaimaro, age 58, was approached by unidentified criminals who demanded a Bs. 200.000 monthly fee. Guaimaro answered that he had no such amount, upon which he, his son Juan Jefferson, and worker Christian Castillo, were shot to death.

No food for you!

Venezuela-Brazil exports have gone down 61%, taking Venezuela from #7 to #37 on the Brazilian list of exports. The reason? They don’t know if and when they’ll get payed

Newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported yesterday that at least 400 Brazilian businessmen are now refusing to export goods to Venezuela. Venezuela-Brazil exports have gone down 61%, taking Venezuela from #7 to #37 on the Brazilian list of exports. The reason? They don’t know if and when they’ll get payed. While this export reduction includes industries like sandals, the most important products are meats, specially chicken, which are no longer coming in from the neighboring country.

The Bus Driver Drama

The government would later go on to declare that it was not a shutdown, to accuse providers of sabotaging the service, and ultimately to ask bus drivers to subsidize the student ticket themselves

Members of the transport guild have expressed their anxiety at the insufficiency of the current price of the pasaje to cover their costs. They currently await a meeting with Transport Ministry officials to raise the price yet again.

They had already agreed upon a timetable of price increases, which established Bs. 45 in August, Bs. 60 in October, Bs. 80 in November, and Bs. 100 in December. All these to be published in the official gazette. However, a minimum wage hike was announced, and the November hike of the pasaje is yet to be seen.

This added to the student ticked drama, which began when, without consultation, the national government shut down student ticket offices, depriving users of this benefit. The government would later go on to declare that it was not a shutdown, to accuse providers of sabotaging the service, and ultimately to ask bus drivers to subsidize the student ticket themselves, promising that the government will pay the bill on January. Naturally, drivers refused.

Members of the National Transport Federation have met the Minister and other officials in negotiation tables in which the Government has committed itself to some measures, which they of course later failed to perform, leading to a national transport Hora Cero. The government has attempted to solve this by proposing more negotiation tables and offering more commitments. Now where have I heard this before?

Because Diosdado

In one of his many unnecessary, violent statements, Diosdado Cabello said yesterday that he “sees no future” for the dialogue, especially when “those people in MUD ask for elections”. He went on to say that there already is an electoral timetable and that it includes nothing more than regional elections. I’ve lost track of whether this is a sign of division between PSUV, part of a media show, or just something to mess with our heads. The fact remains that, publicly, PSUV’s highest officers remain very much dictatorial (“no con votos ni con balas” ring a bell, anyone?).

This week has a lot on its plate. Opposition seems to be playing two fronts: political parties and Movimiento Estudiantil/Civil Society. On one front, we’re supposed to see the results from the dialogue. On the other, street protests will continue. And not to agree with Rafael Poleo’s conspiracy theories, but I have a feeling that the sense of stability everyone seems to be trying to build will once more fall into chaos once the US elections are done.

As my Human Rights teacher tells me: the most likely scenario is: who knows?

4 COMMENTS

  1. Un buen resumen. Me ha gustado lo de “…I’ve lost track of whether this is a sign of division between PSUV, part of a media show, or just something to mess with our heads.” y comparto la impresión. Se analiza y reanaliza todo de tal modo que es fácil terminar perdido. Con esto no digo que no haya que pensar sobre lo que ocurre, es solo que a veces es mejor dejar de hablar (en mi caso, dejar de leer sobre Venezuela) y dar un tiempo para que la historia siga desarrollándose.

  2. The government will only stop organized crime when it gets in the way of the governments own criminal activities.

    The woman from Zaraza desperately needs counseling. Maduro has other priorities that don’t include the people of Venezuela.

    Cabello thinks he is Chavez reincarnated- saying whatever he wants.

Leave a Reply