Nicolás announced yesterday that vice-president Tareck El Aissami will submit the National Budget for 2018 to the ANC, an imposition that saves them the constitutional nuisance of getting the National Assembly’s approval, even though the ANC has been rejected by over 40 countries and several international institutions.

To make the process a bit more palatable, Nicolás claimed that 70% of the budget will be used for social investment.

He also said that the Revolution has brought dignity to women, a truth evidenced by the image  of five women giving birth on the floor of a hospital in San Félix, Bolívar, a couple of days ago.

He vowed that AgroSur (the new name of the failed AgroPatria) will produce all the food that the country needs, leveling its efficacy with PDVSA’s oil output and Bauxilum’s aluminum production, as well as asserting that “it’s exagerated to say that Venezuela is a dictatorship.”

More cynicism

Imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab announced the progress of his investigation on the alleged fraud with Cadivi and Cencoex, explaining that they found nearly 900 companies with cases of overpriced goods. He took the opportunity to blame the nation’s fiscal deficit on this issue.

He mentioned the case of Juan Miguel and Andrés Lozano, detained for allegedly being responsible for requesting foreign currency to purchase chemicals at 130,000% over the market value through Corporación Bates GIl C.A., a company that received about $15 million. Saab claimed that they’ll continue the investigations to identify who provided the funds to the ghost companies, because the case doesn’t only involve businessmen but also public officials; adding, in terms as specific as the case demands, that the investigation will take as long as necessary.

Gasoline

Iván Freites, secretary of professionals and technicians of the Venezuelan Federation of Oil Industry Workers, said that the sector has the capacity to produce nearly 1,300,000 fuel barrels per day and that the only operational refineries are Amuay and Cardón; the rest are virtually shut down. He said that Venezuela currently exports between 100,000 and 150,000 gasoline barrels per day and about 50,000 and 70,000 gas oil barrels: “A barrel of gasoline in the international market costs about $70,” he said, adding that a barrel of gas oil costs some $62.

This is really serious: a gasoline barrel is a unit of measurement, it’s equal to 159 fuel litres. If it’s bought at $70 and then sold at Bs. 6 per litre, the return for the industry is less than Bs. 1,000 per barrel!

Defending the vote

Vicente Bello, MUD’s national manager for Electoral Affairs, denounced that Saime tampered with Táchira’s Electoral Registry (RE), affecting 17,000 people, even though the RE database can’t be modified once elections are called. Bello added that the CNE removed 76 polling stations across the country without saying which stations will be removed and where the affected voters will be relocated.

“Even in adverse conditions, we believe and want to vote, that’s essential,” said Gerardo Blyde, adding that votes will show the world that Nicolás and his candidates are still the minority.

Also, Liliana Hernández restated that the CNE hasn’t allowed them to replace the current candidates with those elected in primaries and that an electoral information fair has been taking place with ballots where MUD representatives haven’t been updated.

Crimes and punishments

The Observatory of Organized Crime, an initiative of the civil association Paz Activa, concluded that in the first half of 2017, there were reports of ten types of organized crimes in Venezuela, with 85% of cases involving drug trafficking, hired killings, extortion and kidnappings. Compared to the first half of 2016, extortion cases spiked by 96.6%. 9 of every 10 individuals involved in organized crimes are men; 66% of them are between 18 and 35 years old, with younger individuals (18 to 24 years old) involved in the most violent crimes.

Yonny Bolívar was sentenced to 27 years and six months in prison for the murder of Adriana Urquiola (28), committed in 2014 during a protest on the Pan American road. The new sentence was imposed by the Appeals Court of the Judicial Criminal Circuit of the Metropolitan Area.

The preliminary hearing requested by the defense of Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, the narconephews, was set for Tuesday, October 3rd.

Against universities

The Human Rights Observatory of Universidad de Los Andes (ULA) remarked that the annual report of international NGO Scholars At RIsk warns about the decline of economic, social and political conditions in Venezuela, which represents a threat to autonomous universities and evidences the attacks against people and institutions linked with the university community. The report includes 13 cases of murders and 26 attacks (violent acts, forced disappearances, imprisonments and prosecutions) against Venezuelan students and teachers, besides arbitrary detentions, repression and trials before military courts. It also emphasizes that negative consequences go beyond individuals and institutions, directly undermining the academic system and society at large.

UPEL students

Last July 2nd, hooded policemen breached UPEL’s campus in Maracay and arbitrarily detained 27 students. On July 4th, students were brought before the fifth court of military control under judge Edgar Volcanes, who sentenced 11 of them to El Dorado prison in Bolívar, another 11 to 26 de Julio prison in Guárico and the five women in the group to house arrest. Last night, the 27 students were issued a precautionary measure, parole with a ban for leaving the country and reporting to the regime every 30 days.

By the time I finished writing this briefing, PoliAragua was refusing to comply with the court order, evicting the students’ families from their facilities without releasing them.

The black market dollar reached a new high: Bs. 27,051.64. A thousand bolívares for each UPEL student and one bolívar for each relative who hopes to see them released.

Previous articleEmpty Universities
Next articleTienes derecho a saber

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.

4 COMMENTS

  1. “If it’s bought at $70 and then sold at Bs. 6 per litre, the return for the industry is less than Bs. 1,000 per barrel!”

    No worries – they make it up in volume.

      • The “real deal” is the production capacity of any country to meet the needs of its population. If you have sufficient production, you have sufficient supply of goods and services, and prices – theoretically – should remain stable. If there is a surplus for export, the wealth of the country should increase, and prices would then tend to be higher than in the rest of the world, as the currency appreciates relative to a basket of currencies worldwide. The reverse is true.

        One could quip “the rest is government”.

        If prices get dollarized, at least measures of inflation will be readable – as economics, as opposed to fiscal. As long as the currency adopted is linked to free markets (floating exchange rates) it doesn’t matter if it’s rubles or yuan or yen or euros or sterling.

        Without reliable data on how much currency is being printed, along with all the stories of a shortage of cash, the things left to guess with (i guess!) are the country’s reserves, productive capacity, and simple demand for bolivares as opposed to other more accepted and convenient currencies – but who has data on how much of what is transacted electronically? (Global numbers are around 66%.) I’ll keep working on your question and let you know when I have the solution, but it’s going to cost you big bucks (I’ll accept barrels of oil in transit – we’ll count in numbers of tankers).

        I’d like to hear if the new bills were ever circulated, and in what volume. The presumption is that BF100 and smaller bills are being retired, but as far as I understand it, there’s no guarantee of that.

        Data on comparative prices isn’t served up on linen – anywhere – but prices in V. are w-a-y below world market. Only Coke and McDonalds, that I have heard of, are near. A bus ride for about a nickel? And people are complaining that the drivers are saying it isn’t viable at that price? A bag of PAN for about $0.30 cents? And BF6 for a liter of gasoline? (You must be kidding – it’s around $0.75 cents in the U.S., or about veinte y un (thousand) bolivares, and around $1.25 in Europe, depending on the exchange rate fluctuations of the day. It’s a wonder there’s any gasoline at all in the country.) Housing is the only thing I’ve seen that comes close to world market prices, but that has dropped about 70% in value over the past three or five years, I read. A salary of between $10 and $100 dollars a month?! Poverty level in the U.S. is $2,000 a month for a family of four.

Leave a Reply