No Water

The people of Corocito, Barinas’s most populated barrio, have gone without water for three months. Over 3000 families -more than 18.000 people- have spent the last three months without receiving any water supply through the regular pipe system. They’ve been left to manage with water trucks (cisternas), for which they’ve been known to pay Bs. 10.000 for a single tank of water. Sometimes, they resort to drinking and bathing with the water from their gutters. The effect has been particularly worrisome in the health of babies and the elderly. That’s life in “Socialism”.

Blackwater Baby

I read an astounding story covered by El Pitazo. This is the case of the Bebé de Aguas Negras, a pemón baby who was born in La Gran Sabana, taken/bought/stolen by a woman, presented by a prostitute, had her name changed, was rescued by the military, and ultimately returned to her mother’s family. It’s amazing and hard to understand, but worth the read. It reflects the sad fact that human trafficking is a very real thing in parts of Venezuela.

Crime update

Renny Xavier Texeira, son of Rey David’s owner, was killed in their Los Palos Grandes location

This Saturday was a gruesome experience for Silvia Alegrett, former president of the Colegio Nacional de Periodistas. Mrs. Alegrett was home, getting ready to celebrate her niece’s birthday party, when two men and two women, armed, broke into her apartment. They tied her, her husband, her sister and her nephew up, and threatened to kill them. They searched the apartment for gold they never found, and left with some dollars and a jar of Nutella (not even slightly kidding). Mrs. Alegrett and her family weren’t physically harmed, but they’re understandably shook up.

Yesterday afternoon, as business was running as usual, Renny Xavier Texeira, son of Rey David’s owner, was killed in their Los Palos Grandes location. His murderer walked up, asked for his phone and, when refused, shot him twice. Renny was rushed to the Clínica El Ávila, but it was too late. Our condolences go to the Texeira family.

Ramírez’s long list

Among them are the fact that his appointment itself was null by law, a $62 million overprice in a drill order, money laundering in Andorra, countless briberies, and PDVAL’s load or rotten food

The National Assembly’s Comptrollership Commission has an ongoing investigation on former head of PDVSA and current Venezuelan representative to the United Nations, Rafael Ramírez. So far, they’ve come up with 21 irregularities. Among them are the fact that his appointment itself was null by law, a $62 million overprice in a drill order, money laundering in Andorra, countless briberies, and PDVAL’s load or rotten food. The sum rises to $11.271 million in  embezzled capital. Just beautiful.

Hunger and chains

14 political prisoners, currently held at SEBIN, have begun a hunger strike demanding their rights and the commitments made by the government in the God-forsaken diálogo. Gilberto Sojo and Renzo Prieto, both incarcerated deputies, are two of the 14 signatures to the communiqué announcing the undetermined strike. They call for other political prisoners to join them, and for a Christmas without political prisoners.

Meanwhile, in Rome, Lilian Tintori, Antonieta de López, and Mitzy Capriles de Ledezma, have staged a symbolic protest outside St. Peter’s Basilica. The wives and mother of Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, the most high-profile of PSUV’s many, many political prisoners, dressed in black and covered themselves with chains while, holding a Venezuelan flag, they prayed for the liberation of political prisoners in Venezuela. “We have faith that the Vatican will help us achieve this which all Venezuelans want, the freedom of all political prisoners”. Well, we sure hope the Pope was watching.

No dialogue

While we’re at it, Chúo Torrealba re-re-re-confirmed that MUD will not be sitting down with the government on December 6th if they don’t start delivering on the commitments they’ve made thus far, especially in terms of political prisoner liberation. I… can’t really speak to how much I trust that statement.

Dólar Today and Bolívar tomorrow

Our current largest denomination bill will now be a coin, while our new largest bill is 200 times our current largest. Which is still around four dollars anyway. This may not be hyperinflation yet, but se parece igualito

On the same weekend in which our payment systems broke down entirely as a result of the country literally running out of bills due to inflation, where the president openly accuses the people in charge of credit cards for “sabotaging” the system (which was merely collapsing under its own weight), and in the land there economic ministers either have no idea or directly deny such things as supply and demand, this is the latest idiocy: Trade Minister Jesús Faría announced that the government will take powerful measures against Dólar Today. Which means that the official policy is definitely to deny all laws of economics and chase after the people who simply report the collapse. Genius.

And of course, the big news this weekend is the fact that we’ve gone back to our pre-Bolívar Fuerte bill denominations. The BCV finally announced six new bills and 3 new coins, ranging from Bs. 10 to Bs. 20.000. Our current largest denomination bill will now be a coin, while our new largest bill is 200 times our current largest. Which is still around four dollars anyway. This may not be hyperinflation yet, but se parece igualito.

Anyway, such is our strong Bolívar. Such is our security, such are our public services, and such is our corruption. All the platforms on which Chávez ran in 98. Quite the legacy, Comandante.

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Carlos is a Law and Liberal Arts student at Universidad Metropolitana, and a teacher of Philosophy, Entrepreneurship, and Public Speaking at Instituto Cumbres de Caracas. MetroMUNer (@MetroMUN) and VOXista (@voxistas). But really, he's just an overcompensating, failed singer-songwriter.