Venezuela in the OAS

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Cruel fate made it so that, just when Nicolás was sharing his thoughts on the many blessings that crises bring us during a cadena nacional, before the Venezuelan delegation set to participate in the Fourth Parapan American Games in Sao Paulo, the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, released his updated report on Venezuela via Twitter, where he urges the Permanent Council to suspend our country from the institution if “free, fair and transparent” general elections are not held soon.

Throughout the 75-page report on Venezuela, Almagro updates his first report (released in May, 2016); he details how the living conditions and rights of Venezuelans have been undermined and he also states that this government violates every one of the Democratic Charter’s articles, establishing the breakdown of the democratic order and how dialogue has only served to give Nicolás some breathing ground. The jabs towards UNASUR’s mediators are as accurate as the pages he later dedicates to Nicolás himself and Diosdado Cabello, comparing them to the cruelest dictators the American countries have ever known.

What are the new recommendations?

The General Secretary requests the OAS Permanent Council to take specific actions with concrete results, so that “the call to recover democracy in Venezuela is unambiguous and avoids being buried by circumstantial interests,” recommending:

  1. Full general elections to be held as soon as possible with the presence of international monitoring teams, which he thinks are indispensable for country’s transition back to democracy, the Rule of Law and implementing solutions.
  2. The new elections will open the way for efficient systems to fight corruption and start an international campaign to investigate the both corruption and the waste of national resources.
  3. Impose further bilateral sanctions on individuals linked with the government and involved in corruption or drug trafficking cases.
  4. The immediate release of all political prisoners.
  5. Urgently establishing a humanitarian channel focused on food and medical assistance.
  6. The restitution of constitutional order with full respect for the autonomy of each and every government branch, in compliance with the laws enshrined in the Constitution.

And in Parliament

This Tuesday, the National Assembly unanimously approved the creation of a committee to investigate the issue of food and the declaration of national food emergency. According to lawmaker Carlos Paparoni, 27 children have starved to deathso far this year; one in every two children is suffering from malnutrition, one in every two Venezuelans can’t afford a full day of meals and there are three million Venezuelans who search the garbage for food.

The head of the Finance Committee, lawmaker José Guerra also urged the Andean Development Corporation (CAF for its initials in Spanish) not to approve a $400 million credit requested by Venezuela’s Economic and Social Development Bank: “We demand CAF to respect our institutions and to guarantee that any public credit operations complies with the law on debt, which was legitimately approved by the National Assembly,” said lawmaker Guerra.

Let’s talk about oil

The Monthly Oil Market Report reveals that PDVSA’s output has dropped to 1,9 barrels per day during February. With that output level, PDVSA closes in on the quota allocated by OPEC last November to balance the market, a perfect justification for this serious drop in production. OPEC’s report also estimates that non-OPEC producers -the United States and Canada- will increase output by 400,000 barrels per day this year, contrasting against the reduction agreed to by the group and the 11 non-member countries, making it even harder for oil prices to increase again in the world. In May, OPEC minister will meet in Vienna to decide whether they extend this agreement with such terrible results. We’ll end up exporting videos of Nicolás’ cadenas.

We could also export cynicism

As exemplified by Prisons minister Iris Varela who, even in the wake of the recent scandals of an illegal bank agency in a prison and mass graves in another, had the gall to say in United Nations’ headquarters that “Before Chávez, nobody spoke about Venezuela’s prison system,” claiming that in 98% of prisons, inmates have access to study, sports and honest work; that the new penitentiary regime has built and set up 38 projects, guaranteeing proper conditions for prisoners, and that they’ve also completely eradicated overcrowding. Sadly, she forgot to mention that the State violates itself and that’s why yesterday, a group of relatives of political prisoners protested before Ombudsman’s Office headquarters, demanding the immediate release of those for whom TSJ had issued release orders or precautionary measures, which SEBIN has decided to ignore.

Relax, Tarek is here

The Ombudsman said that the institution he leads is closely monitoring the actions of authorities deployed for the Operation of People’s Liberation, to guarantee respect for the law, although the use of masks isn’t a violation of international standards for these kinds of operations, claiming that he leans toward selective police actions because they’re not so assertive. Qué cuchi. If it’s about poor assertiveness, it’s hard to say which of VTV’s shows last night was more off-the-mark, if the release of “CLAP TV” or the news of Nicolás’ meeting with the Political High Command. Regarding the latter, Nicolás made a mess of himself while trying to explain the activation of the five lines of action to further establish the revolution. He takes the prize, mixing economic recovery (with a focus on the CLAP); new public safety mechanisms; consolidating the missions (via Carnet de la Patria); boosting all public infrastructure works and the creation of a new patriotic pole to strengthen the PSUV. Move aside, Churchill!

Caracas ranks as the second worst city to live in Latin America, according to the ranking of cities based on their quality of life. Only Havana is worse. Caracas dropped from number 185 to 198 in a year.

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.