More Malnutrition

Your daily briefing for Friday, September 22, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

In their latest report, Cáritas Venezuela confirmed that the amount of children with some degree of malnutrition – in the poorest parishes of the states covered by the study – climbed from 54% to 68% between April and August; the trend tripled in four months. A larger number of malnutrition cases in all three forms, acute, moderate and severe, was registered. Those figures surpass the severity threshold that defines a crisis and push us closer to a food emergency. In the homes covered by the study, respondents admitted they’ve reduced their meal intake, as well as the quantity and quality of the products they consume. Deficiencies in food diversity went from 66% to 85% between February and August 2017.

The head of the Venezuelan Observatory of Health (OVS), Dr. Marianella Herrera, said on Thursday that 50% of malnutrition in children starts before the age of five, explaining that the Venezuelan dietary pattern has changed drastically. Specialists believe that if urgent action is not taken, “the damage will be severe” and there will be “many more deaths.” 

Shortage of medicines

The head of the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela, Freddy Ceballos, said that the ten million doses of medicines that arrived in the country won’t be enough to cover all of our needs. To illustrate the shortage of medicines, Ceballos, explained the drop in the index of annual doses: in a year, it fell from 740 million units to 264 million. There’s an 85% shortage of medicines and no antibiotics for children came in this shipment.

Francisco Valencia, head of Codevida, remarked that the crisis is caused by both the lack of foreign currency to import medicines and the fact that Venezuela isn’t producing any of them.

The manager of Transfusional Medicine of the Venezuelan Society of Hematology, Fernando Guevara, said yesterday that the Health Ministry won’t send reagents to the country’s blood banks for the rest of the year and pointed out that from now on, each hospital will have to purchase its own products, even if they don’t have the funds to take on that expense.

Sanctions without banknotes

Interior minister Néstor Reverol announced that the government raised the interbank ATM cash withdrawals limit to Bs. 5,000, enough to pay for a hot dog. He also announced future measures to fight the crisis: raising the limits for purchases at retail POS systems, online transfers and ATM cash withdrawals – absurd! –, as well as slashing the VAT by 3% for transactions of up to Bs. 2 million and by 5% for operations beyond that amount.

He gave an extended report of inspected and sanctioned businesses, blocked POS, confiscated cash and arrests due to “irregular practices.” That is: he offered all the arguments necessary to support the absurd notion that cash issues aren’t caused by inflation or cash shortages to satisfy the demand of the bolívar’s new “value”, but by the wicked people who carry it out of the country to play Monopoly.

Less oil

“Venezuelav vortex” is the title of the chapter dedicated to our country in the International Energy Agency’s report for August, in which they explain that oil output dropped by 20% in merely two years due to operational issues. They also report that sales to the U.S. and India dropped by 90,000 barrels per day this year. “Output has decreased to about 2 million barrels per day, close to the minimum in three decades, and reductions may even accelerate because it is increasingly difficult to urgently import the solvent required to process extra heavy crude (…), pay for goods and services required for daily operations and reimburse international oil companies,” says the report, adding that exports dropped to 1.7 million barrels per day.

But relax, BCV will reactivate Dicom auctions with their selection of currencies, who knows when.

Subservient to PSUV

Diosdado Cabello cautioned public employees that they must vote for chavista candidates in regional elections and that the carnet de la patria is precisely intended for that: “We know everything,” was his threat.

That’s why it’s not strange that the board of Táchira’s Bar Association denounced the dismissal of 20 Prosecutor’s Office prosecutors as political retaliation. Senior prosecutor Euclides Quevedo notified them that they were fired, without specifying the reason for their removal. They also denounced that six courts of control have no judges, explaining that the same situation has been reported in Carabobo, Lara and Sucre.


“The Venezuelan conflict can only be resolved peacefully and a military intervention from any of the parties can cause a chaos and a slaughter that country doesn’t need,” said Costa Rican president Luis Guillermo Solís.

Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes said that he talked to Nicolás to offer him food and medicines but he refused help: “all we need is Venezuela to accept the help,” he said. After his meeting with UN chief Antonio Guterres, he said that he offered to be an instrument for good and that he doesn’t want to do “political marketing with the pain of so many people.”

Lastly, Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said before the UN General Assembly that “It’s unacceptable to incite riots and threaten to use force to democratize Venezuela or undermine legitimate authorities in any country,” saying that the unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. are wrong.


  • It wasn’t an iguana: CANTV reported that hurricane María’s passing caused issues with the country’s internet service.
  • Payments: Venezuela said yesterday that the funds for a pending payment of the Global 2027 bond had been transferred, but bondholders told Reuters that they haven’t been paid yet.
  • Before default: Brazilian officials from the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance are planning to visit Venezuela to prevent the nation from failing to pay contracts for up to $5 billion.
  • Sanctions: the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said yesterday: “There’s a lot of support in Latin America to see Venezuela start to respect its people and go back to the democracy it’s supposed to be (…) If things don’t improve, all those options are always there,” saying that the an oil embargo remained a possibility.

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.