32 years after the devastating earthquake that killed over 10,000 people and right after the drill to commemorate it, Mexico suffered another strong quake, the second in two weeks. A magnitude 7.1 jolted the country’s central region on Tuesday, leaving a regrettable balance of fatalities that keeps increasing with every Civil Protection Agency update. Almost 40 buildings were levelled in Mexico City. National emergency was declared, there have been power outages and mobile network malfunctions, as well as gas leak warnings, reports of fires and the collapse of several roads. Air traffic in the capital’s airport is suspended.

President Enrique Peña Nieto convened the National Emergency Committee to coordinate actions and announced the deployment of 3,000 soldiers in the capital. A large number of volunteers have also joined the search for people trapped under the rubble. The Popocatepetl volcano, located in the city of Puebla, erupted and several seismology services have clarified that this is a normal occurrence in the aftermath of an earthquake.

Other kind of tremors

President Donald Trump spoke about Venezuela during his speech in the UN 72nd General Assembly, restating that his government “prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.” He thanked the leaders who have condemned Nicolás and urged them to be prepared to “do more” to address our situation, which he deemed unacceptable. “We cannot stand by and watch. As responsible neighbors and friends, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy,” said Trump. He regretted the “terrible suffering” that Nicolás has inflicted on Venezuelans, as well as the nation’s collapse, criticizing the implementation of socialism, because in his view “From the Soviet Union to Cuba […] socialism has delivered anguish and devastation.”

Were we slaves?

“Venezuela wants honorable, respectful relations with the United States, because we’ll never be slaves of the United States again,” said Nicolás while he condemned Donald Trump’s statements, claiming that “nobody threatens Venezuela.” He challenged Trump to engage in a debate about his system’s achievements: “Wherever he wants, whenever he wants and however he wants, we can debate to see if he’s able to support with words each and every phrase he said today at the UN.”

According to Nicolás, Trump sent him a death threat and he claimed that if something were to happen to him, “they would regret it for 100 years, because this nation would rise up to fight.” He accused Trump of being the “new Hitler” of international politics and to sweeten his cadena, he announced that shipments of humanitarian aid had been sent to Dominica, and offered Mexico all the help necessary for rescue operations, while Aragua state is devastated.

Reactions

Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza also condemned Trump’s speech, denouncing his “racist and supremacist” ideology, associating it with the return of the Cold War and comparing him with former president Ronald Reagan. “What he wants is to cause suffering for the Venezuelan people, to cause a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela,” said Arreaza, as if chavismo hadn’t accomplished both goals already.

Delcy Rodríguez criticized the American electoral system, claiming that their heads of State don’t serve the people, just as she’s heading the ANC, the product of an imposed election and an electoral fraud. In her strange version, Donald Trump threatened mankind with nuclear war and “also dared to threaten Venezuela.”

In addition, Celac decided to postpone the summit with the European Union in San Salvador, scheduled for October, until further notice.

Other voices

The presidents of Colombia, Brazil and France denounced the Venezuelan crisis in the General Assembly, and demanded the restitution of democratic guarantees. “We hurt for Venezuela. We hurt for the gradual destruction of its democracy. We hurt for the persecution of political dissidence and the systematic violation of the rights of Venezuelans,” said Juan Manuel Santos.

Michel Temer spoke of the decline of human rights and of the thousands of Venezuelan refugees that have entered Brazil: “We stand by the Venezuelan people. We’re united by fraternal bonds, there’s no more place for alternatives to democracy and that’s why we’ve firmly asserted our beliefs.”

Emmanuel Macron said that the world must remain vigilant to the abuses committed in Venezuela, urging nations not to succumb “to the dictatorial trend,” and asking for collective action to work for the respect of democracy and all political entities.

Brief and serious

Health: The Venezuelan Alliance for Health (AVS) warned about the measles epidemic now active in Venezuela and the cases of diphtheria, which thrives with the lack of active vaccination programs. If measles isn’t immediately dealt with, they said, “soon it will be everywhere.” They’ll write to the OAS to ask for their help in resolving the humanitarian crisis.

Inflation: According to Cendas, the Food Basket’s price increased by almost Bs. 568,922 in just one month, 39.4% compared with July and 424.2% compared with August 2016. Over 20 minimum wages are required to afford the basket. The prices of all products increased and the gap between controlled prices and market prices is 18,000%.

Cynicism: Nicolás bashed public authorities who have engaged in corruption and called for their imprisonment: “They’re the worst enemies of the people, those who hold public office and spend their time stealing from the people (…) We’ll have to build prisons and put them to work on the fields.” He also took the chance to ask his ministers to “send the jalabolas away.”

Risk: The Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (Idea) issued a statement remarking on the risk of losing the achievements of the protests for another dialogue attempt that “runs the risk of being used by the regime to keep making time in their favor and validate the illegitimate ANC.”

Another earthquake: A magnitude 6.1 tremor hit southern New Zealand last night. Puerto Rico’s forecasts for hurricane María are extremely serious. And our diaspora is so widespread now that we have at least one friend in each place. To all nations at risk right now, be strong!

7 COMMENTS

  1. When the last great earthquake to hit Mexico City struck, and I’m sure many Venezuelans as well as Canadians remember that event, Mexico was living under what people have called the Perfect Dictatorship. It was an ostensibly socialist revolutionary government that was at the same time a major oil producer, a close trading partner of the USA, a corrupt narcostate and a brutal repressor of anything resembling a credible threat to its dominance of all levels of government. Mexicans rallied and overcame the earthquake and then they overcame the PRI. There was no gringo invasion. There were no sanctions. It was people power and raw courage that brought down the Perfect Dictatorship.

      • The term originates in Mexico. It has a rich literary and social history. The gringo appears for example in classics by Carlos Fuentes and Graham Greene. When used in the particularly negative sense these days it usually comes with an adjective, as in “pinche gringo”.

        • The term originates in Mexico.
          Most unlikely.
          A myth developed that the word originated in Latin America and is a corruption of “green, go” with historical references to US military green or US currency. In reality, the word was in common use in Spain in the early part of the 18th century.

          A 1786 Castilian Dictionary has it as meaning someone who can’t speak Spanish or can’t speak it very well. There, it is suggested that it could be a corruption of griego as in “habla griego”, literally “he’s talking Greek”, or of “peregrino”, a traveler or pilgrim. Either would make sense, but the reality is that Its etymology is not really known.

          Today, its meaning is dependent on context and location, but it is most commonly used still as a neutral description in Venezuela of someone from the USA; this is extended by many to include any white, English-speaking foreigner. It is equally often used as an adjective to describe or ascribe cultural values. Someone might be out shopping for “ropa más gringa” (clothes which are more gringo) or, if a little girl does not like hallacas or pabellon criollo, her mother might describe her as “media gringa” (half gringo). It is sometimes used as an affectionate but slightly patronising way to emphasise cultural distinction; for example, “No entiendes nada, mi amigo gringo.” Loosely translated, this says: “You don’t understand what’s going on because you aren’t from around here.”

          The term can be used in a disparaging way, but nowadays, this requires the addition of other insulting descriptors for emphasis. Pinche gringo is Mexican Spanish only. You must have really pissed someone off if they called you that.

          As someone once said, words grow out of their clothes over time.

          • When talking about the “gringo”, I was referring to its common use today.

            I think it unlikely that anyone today hearing the word “gringo” would understand it to mean an Irishman or someone from the Mediterranean region, just as it would be unlikely for someone to understand the word “pedant” to refer to a teaching professional, as in: “I earn my living as a pedant”.

            But what is my evidence that the origins are Mexican? Well, Mexicans. And they use the word with an unmatched richness, subtlety and authority that is convincing in that regard.

  2. Be Strong Boricua. My wife and kids just went though hell last night in San Juan, PR. Water and power went out 6 hours before the eye, but cell coverage remains (unbelievable, if you think of it). I am in LA, and watched gods wrath. The island of 3.5 million has been devastated. I worry for those in the mountains and along the coast. Only in the next day will we know.

    • Do you think anyone from CC gives a shit about Puerto Rico, a U.S. piece of real estate?

      Or that they give a shit about the victims of Harvey and Irma in Texas, Florida and elsewhere? Be they Americans or ex-pats from VZ?

      It’s fucking unbelievable. Not ONE word on CC about these disasters, not ONE, in the past month.

      And they want the world to cry boo hoo over Venezuela.

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