Of Charters and Grocery Bags

Daily Briefing for Thursday, March 2, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

The United States Senate unanimously adopted a resolution in support of invoking the Inter American Democratic Charter with regard to Venezuela. In the resolution explaining their decision, they urge the OAS Permanent Council to perform a collective evaluation of the constitutional and democratic order in Venezuela and president Trump to support the OAS’s efforts; an interesting development for Julio Ron, Venezuela’s new chargé d’affaires in the U.S., to begin his tenure, replacing Maximilien Sánchez Arveláiz.

As for the Democratic Charter, 45 Venezuelan NGOs asked OAS head Luis Almagro to activate it —with or without dialogue— due to the “severe damage to democratic institutions and the setbacks in regards with social rights” and ratifying the request they made last October 24th, 2016. Chile’s Chamber of Deputies also approved a resolution requesting president Michelle Bachelet to order her Foreign Minister to begin the proceedings to secure lawmaker Gilber Caro’s release.

Nicolás’ bags

“I’m no prophet, magician or sorcerer, but 2017 is the year of advanced triumph,” said Nicolás yesterday, before claiming that the grocery bags delivered by the Local Committees of Supply and Production (CLAP) have benefitted over five million homes, while he opened a packaging center in Cumaná —the antithesis of any productive effort— which didn’t keep him from saying that “the CLAPs are the spine of the country’s social and economic stability.”

The price of the CLAP bags being packaged in Cumaná will be Bs. 8,541, and meanwhile, the Basic Food Basket’s price reached Bs. 832,260 in January, according to Cendas. The price all of the Basket’s products increased and the gap between regime-controlled prices and market prices is now 4,344%. No carnet de la patria can sustain that mess, so Nicolás once again threatened his make-believe enemies —speculators— to explain the economic crisis, because “they thieves are pricing products however they want (…) we’ll have to open several more prisons to put all those speculators.” Inflation, the lack of production and prioritizing debt payment over imports have nothing to do with our circumstances. In the segment “how to hold on to power by kissing up to a dead man,” he announced his new government motto: “We love Chávez here,” claiming that he’ll spread it in several languages because “he was a world leader, he transcended in the entire world.” He’s planning solutions to the crisis, you know.

Swiss Army knife Delcy

The Foreign minister presented a proposal for a world alliance for peace in Palestine before the UN-sanctioned Non-Aligned Countries Movement (MNOAL), to “strengthen the Palestinian people’s right to life and independence.” She also said that “Venezuela keeps its irreversible Human Rights model and that makes us (…) a threat to this capitalist economic order (…) the cause of all of mankind’s suffering,” claiming that the present economic situation hasn’t hindered social development in Venezuela. She had the nerve to speak about FAO head Graziano Da Silva, about his efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty, and she also claimed to have had a productive meeting with Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin.

Peace in Palestine is a priority. Violating Human Rights is a model, irreversible as long as chavismo stays in power. The PSUV uses hunger as a mechanism of social control, never to eradicate it, and courtesy meetings don’t count as diplomatic achievements, even less so on Ash Wednesday.


The head of the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela (FEFARVEN), Freddy Ceballos, spoke out about the rampaging shortage of medicines, criticizing the fact that certain labs are importing them with black market dollars, making it even harder for people to afford them and insisting on the need for pharmaceutical companies to keep accessing subsidized dollars to work.

Ceballos moreover cautioned that according to AVEDEM —the association of suppliers of medical equipment— 49 affiliated companies and over 50 drugstores have been shut down. Former Health minister Henry Ventura spoke about pharmaceutical security —the same one that’s supposed to guarantee high quality, affordable medicines— explaining that Venezuelan labs must produce, using government-assigned dollars, the medicines required by the people and not those that maximize their profits.

A treacherous vanguard

Nicolás was enthusiastic yesterday because “oil prices, as you know, have been recovering. For the first time the oil barrel reaches $47, we’re headed for $50. Last year it was at $20 and our situation was much worse.”

But journalist Mariana Párraga reported that Venezuela is the country with the least oil output cuts during the first two months of 2017, despite being one of the countries that advocated production cuts to increase prices. According to OPEC figures: “Venezuela, Argelia, Gabo and United Arab Emirates have only fulfilled 25% of the agreement. Venezuela (…) is the lowest in this group, with only 7% fulfillment.” How about that?

The Bs. 300 Tax Unit hike came into force yesterday.


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.