Shortly before the period for replacing candidates on the electoral ballot had expired, the TSJ’s Electoral Chamber declared that the interpretation of article 63 of the Framework Law of Electoral Processes was resolved. The Constitutional Chamber decided it had no authority on the matter, even though they’ve blithely changed dozens of articles of the Constitution. Ruling N° 165 says that candidate replacement can only take place within a maximum period of ten days before the election, which means they won’t do it!

That’s why Freddy Guevara, first vice-president of the National Assembly, said that the ruling was a “new trap” and called on people to vote only on ballots showing the face of the opposition candidate who won the primaries, or otherwise, their votes will be null, the kind of votes that PSUV needs.

The Education Ministry said that schools operating as voting stations will suspend activities between October 8th and 16th.

Inflation in 2017

We’re now aware of how much our Gross Domestic Product has dropped (between 12% and 14%). Data revealed yesterday by Astrúbal Oliveros, head of Ecoanalística, explains the magnitude of our economic crisis and how much further it will intensify.

“Cumulative inflation since September 2016 is 1,083%. With an average monthly inflation of 35%, we’re closing the year with a record 1,400% inflation rate,” Oliveros said, adding that the economy has contracted by between 36% and 40% in the last four years, with a 50% decline in purchasing power, an unprecedented figure!

Prices keep their vertiginous climb because the government keeps injecting money to the economy while goods supply is scarce, since production’s still strangled by import cuts. In September, only $2 million were granted daily, the lowest level since FX controls were implemented in 2003, a 63% drop compared to August (with $5.4 million daily).

We’re in October and Dicom auctions are still suspended, so the government isn’t granting euros, yuans, rupees or rubles.

For 2018, Ecoanalítica estimates a 3,575% inflation rate and a 7.3% GDP drop, imports will fall to $11.8 billion and the tax deficit will reach 11.4% of the GDP.

Todo bello.

Right to health

The Venezuelan Society of Public Health of Nueva Esparta state denounced that the healthcare emergency has grown worse. There are already 100 cases of malaria in Margarita, no medicines to treat them and the State hasn’t established a quarantine to halt its spread, estimating that one million people will be infected with malaria across the country by the end of 2017. The Pediatric Society said that there’s also an epidemic of visceral leishmaniasis and that until September 16th, they have reports that 198 children below age five have died. 145 of them were newborns, a significant increase in the child mortality rate compared to 2016. The National Vaccine Plan, they added, lacks two crucial vaccines: rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.

Additionally, the Indigenous Rights Observatory Kapé Kapé denounced an increase in HIV cases, malaria and malnutrition in communities in Delta Amacuro, Amazonas and Bolívar. Illegal mining has sped up the spread of malaria by 60% to 70% in the Sucre municipality, Bolívar state, they told representatives of the National Assembly, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office they met last week in Caracas.

Also, the Venezuelan Observatory of Health issued a statement yesterday, remarking that sanitary conditions and the crisis have had an impact in the hike of tuberculosis cases.

All of those organizations agree on the urgency of opening a humanitarian channel to ease the situation, especially for vulnerable communities. And where is Nicolás? Posing for the camera in Minsk along with Belarusian dictator Alexandr Lukashenko!

Recovering the losses?

After labelling CNE chief Tibisay Lucena as a ruinous person for democracy and “the most criminal individual,” National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges said that Parliament will recover its authority not only because the government lost its legitimacy, but also because it needs the Legislative Branch’s authorization to request loans, make contracts and offer concessions. Borges equated a potential victory on October 15th with the necessary strength to make the government recognize the National Assembly, which could be awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, granted by the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, with clear priorities, the government announced that next Monday, they’ll launch a satellite in China – the third one in the country’s history – to replace the Francisco de Miranda, so they can study crops and figure out where to make the necessary investment to maximize food production capacity. No kidding.

Abroad

The Lima Group demanded that the Executive Branch guarantees the impartiality and objectivity of October 15th elections, calling for them to take place in full respect of the Constitution and the Framework Law of Electoral Processes, both of them already mercilessly violated.

They also urged the CNE to operate with complete transparency, impartiality and objectivity, demanding respect for free, secret, effective and universal votes.

Romain Nadal, French ambassador in Venezuela, said that his country is willing to cooperate with political actors “to participate as a guarantor of a negotiation of a political solution that benefits Venezuela,” as a diplomatic country bound to ours by fraternity, which is why president Emmanuel Macron and Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian are ready to offer support.

Nate, the tropical storm that’s currently moving through the Caribbean, left at least seven people dead in Costa Rica and ten missing due to landslides, fallen trees and flooding. Thousands were also t forced to evacuate. After passing through Nicaragua and Honduras, Nate is expected to become a hurricane over Mexico on Saturday.

Ah! The Vinotinto tied with Uruguay with no goals.

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