On Sunday, September 17th, Primero Justicia reported the death of Páez municipality councilman Carlos Andrés García, who suffered a stroke while he in prison. García is the second political prisoner to die in captivity, after Rodolfo González, known as “El aviador”, who killed himself in the cells of El Helicoide, in March 2015.
Primero Justicia said that the councilman’s death was a “murder” case. Their national secretary, Tomás Guanipa said: “There was no trial, no medical attention and he paid the cost of being member of a political party.” He remarked that the government was perverse in granting him house arrest (in the Central Hospital of San Cristóbal) only two days before his death, despite having precautionary measures since September 15th, and cautioned that what happened to Carlos García could happen to any other political prisoner. There are over 600 in Venezuela.
OAS chief, Luis Almagro, condemned the Apure councilman’s death, saying it was “a flagrant human rights violation committed by the regime,” responsible for the death of a political prisoner.
— Luis Almagro (@Almagro_OEA2015) September 18, 2017
The imposed prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, ordered an investigation on the councilman’s death, while the Supreme Tribunal of Justice demanded political leaders to “abstain from issuing irresponsible statements with false information,” including the blasphemy of blaming the councilman’s death on the government, even though State negligence was crucial in his case.
A quote from UCAB’s Human Rights Center:
Los fallecimientos de personas bajo custodia también son responsabilidad del Estado por omisión criminal https://t.co/WNNeRi55jk
— Centro DDHH UCAB (@CDH_UCAB) September 18, 2017
“The death of people in custody are also the State’s responsibility by criminal omission.”
Less kids to school
Education minister, Elías Jaua, claimed that 7,195,335 started school yesterday, but researcher Luis Bravo Jáuregui, manager of Memoria Educativa Venezolana, said: “251,180 didn’t enroll this year. School enrollments dropped, which is a really concerning matter.” He compared the total of students enrolled in this period with last year’s figure, and cautioned that dropping enrollment has been a trend in the public sector since 2005, a total of nearly one million students over 12 years.
In addition, school basket prices increased by more than 760%, according to Cendas-FVM; but Nicolás spoke yesterday of guaranteeing “books, quality facilities, backpacks and food,” demanding Jaua to turn schools into productive centers and implement farming plots. In order to secure the Programa de Alimentación Escolar (School Feeding Program) during the next four months, Nicolás announced the creation of a Bs. 1,5 million budget.
Perhaps to mitigate the effect that the latest report of the UN Organization of Agriculture and Food (FAO) on Venezuela’s food situation had on public opinion – an issue that will be discussed today in the National Assembly –, yesterday, Russian Agriculture minister Alexander Tkachev said that Russia will send some 600,000 tons of wheat to Venezuela in this business year, which ends in June 2018, demonstrating the Kremlin’s support for the national economy, although in truth, the wheat will be sent as part of contracts signed between State-owned companies from both nations.
Do the math: 600,000 tons for nine months.
At the start of the meeting in New York with Latin American leaders, United States president Donald Trump demanded a full recovery of democracy and liberties in Venezuela. The dinner was attended by presidents Michel Temer, Juan Manuel Santos, Juan Carlos Varela and Argentine vice-president Gabriela Michetti.
Trump said that our country’s situation is unbearable and unacceptable, denounced Nicolás’ government as a dictatorship, and stated that it “has inflicted terrible misery and suffering on the good people of that country” and that the “his corrupt regime destroyed a thriving nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and despair.”
He thanked the heads of State for condemning Nicolás and supporting the Venezuelan people, and said that his government is ready to take further actions, without saying what those are.
President Temer said that there was a “coincidence of stances” regarding Venezuela, while president Varela tweeted that they agreed to coordinate actions to guarantee free and transparent presidential elections.
Con líderes de la región concluimos en coordinar acciones para garantizar elecciones presidenciales libres y transparentes en Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/uOIYSHeDws
— Juan Carlos Varela (@JC_Varela) September 19, 2017
On Monday, just hours after Venezuelan Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said that President Trump “has nothing to say about Venezuela,” because “only we Venezuelans can talk about Venezuela,” and asked his counterparts in Celac not to use strategies of “extra regional” origin in order to avoid damaging the institution, Peru’s Foreign ministry confirmed that the Lima Group – the dozen American countries who remain critical of the Venezuelan regime – will meet in New York today to “review and adopt new measures before the Venezuelan crisis.”
By the way, on Sunday, Nicolás said that Mariano Rajoy acts like a dictator regarding his decisions about the Catalonian referendum. Yesterday, Spanish Foreign minister Alfonso Dastis said that his words are unacceptable and remarked that “this kind of statements say more about who issues them than about their intended target.” Ouch, Nicolás!
- Huniades Urbina-Medina, head of the Sociedad Venezolana de Puericultura y Pediatría (Venezuelan Society of Puericulture and Pediatrics), said that Venezuela has moved backwards 70 years due to the severe health care crisis we’re suffering because we’re running out of medicines, vaccines and protection programs for children, teenagers and adults: “We’re talking about a colossal recession at the dawn of the 21st century,” he said.
- Gonzalo Himiob denounced that military judge Claudia Pérez expelled Foro Penal lawyers from the hearing yesterday and forced detainees to confess the crimes. Himiob added: “Intimidating and threatening detainees for protesting so that they confess their guilt for crimes they haven’t committed is a judicial perversion of the highest caliber.”
- CNE authority Tania D’Amelio reported that there won’t be indelible ink in gubernatorial elections set for October 15th, not bothering to explain why.
- In its transit through the island of Dominica, hurricane María has wreak havoc in several areas, including the residence of the Primer Minister, who had to be rescued.
126 heads of State and Government will meet today at the high level debate of the United Nations’ General Assembly.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.