Yesterday, just five days before the elections, the National Electoral Council relocated 200 voting stations in 16 states across the country, allegedly due to lack of electoral material. CNE authority Luis Emilio Rondón statedlast night that this affects over 300,000 voters, very serious.

Earlier, rectora Tania D’Amelio disregarded the importance of indelible ink, claiming that it’s merely symbolic and only good for voter pictures. She also said that an international monitoring committee will be created on Thursday, although she forgot to mention that Ceela is as legitimate as her, considering how they supported the fraud on July 30th.

The Venezuelan Electoral Observatory denounced how and when the CNE has undermined the free exercise of voting rights, breaking institutional practices, violating the current legislation and clouding the electoral process.

Exercising a right

Prosecutor general Luisa Ortega called on Venezuelans to vote on October 15th: “even though the conditions are unfavorable and the CNE is totally illegitimate, I call on all Venezuelans to not give in to any threats, to overcome fear and go to the polls,” she said in her presentation about the situation of human rights in Venezuela, at the Univeridad del Rosario, Bogotá. Ortega criticized the obstacles and threats against opposition candidates, denouncing human rights violations and misdeeds committed in the judicial proceedings of people detained during protests. She ratified the rupture of constitutional order, saying that there’s no Rule of Law, democracy or civil liberties in Venezuela.

Malnourished and hungry

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), hunger rose by 6% in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016, while obesity rates keep rising and causing more deaths than drug trafficking and organized crime. 42.5 million Latin Americans (6.4% of the population) suffer starvation: “The region has taken a big step back in a fight it had been winning,” said Julio Berdegué. In Venezuela, malnutrition rose from 9.1% in the 2013-2015 period to 13% between 2014 and 2016 due to political and social instability, which translates to food shortages and much more hunger.

Debacle

In its World Economic Outlook for the second half of the year, the International Monetary Fund predicts that Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole will experience a slight growth in 2017 and 2018. In Venezuela, however, they estimated a contraction of over 10% besides rising inflation and a severe recession:

“The intensifying political crisis in Venezuela has a great impact on economic activity, we estimate a contraction of over 10% in 2017, as oil output continues to drop and uncertainty increases even more.”

Inflation is estimated at 652.7% for this year, and at 2,349.3% for next year.

But relax, Basic Industries minister Juan Arias said: “I assume those figures are, let’s say, exaggerated, right? I don’t think the drop in our industrial GDP can be that large,” claiming that they expect an industrial growth close to 30% for the second half of the year.

Human Rights

Later this month, OAS will establish whether crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela, after listening to the victims’ testimonies.

NGO Foro Penal announced that they submitted the updated list of political prisoners to OAS chief Luis Almagro, with 419 people in total, 4 new additions and 24 releases since the most recent update.

Víctor Ugas, the young man imprisoned for tweeting the picture of Robert Serra’s body, is still detained in SEBIN Helicoide even though he already served his sentence of 2 years and eight months and despite having a release warrant.

Journalists Alberto Cabrero and Antonio Medina have been detained in Santa Ana military prison for 76 days now, but their hearing is yet to be scheduled, according to Letty Vásquez, secretary of Zulia’s National Association of Journalists, explaining that the crimes they’re being accused of are not appropriate for professionals who only had photographic cameras and cellphones when they were arbitrarily detained.

Abroad

Mexican Foreign minister Luis Videgaray confirmed yesterday that his country is willing to join the group of nations that will mediate in a new phase of dialogue between the government and the opposition, and that they’ll do it in good faith.

Five of the TSJ justices appointed by the National Assembly who were sheltered in the Chilean embassy fled yesterday morning to Colombia and from there, they’ll travel to Washington to meet with OAS representatives.

Transparency International said that at least 90 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean have engaged in bribery at some point and Venezuela is among the four countries where people most frequently admit paying them.

The commander of the Colombian police said yesterday: “There are Venezuelan armed colectivos fighting with gunfire at the border.”

According to Official Gazette N° 6.333, Nicolás decided to extend the expiration date of passports by two years, for those passports about to expire.

The escrache that wasn’t

A couple of young Venezuelan lawyers approached Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza in London. His entourage spread out to block the footage.

Pedro Rodríguez, one of the lawyers, said that he had to leave the country due to the murders and deaths by hunger. An aggressive member of Arreaza’s entourage confronts Pedro asking him if he’s lost a relative to violence, Pedro says yes and the attacker responds that he’s lost family too and it was before el finado’s government. The other lawyer speaks about a friend murdered with a marble and Arreaza retorts: “Back in my day, people were killed with firearms every week.” Pedro speaks again, the Foreign minister tries to interrupt him several times, but the lawyer insists and Arreaza even has the nerve to spout a “But let me talk, man,” right before holding back the attacker in his entourage who asked the young men whether they trash or praise the country. “Venezuela hasn’t seen any progress in 19 years,” says Pedro and Arreaza merely says: “You think so, brother?”, the lawyers tell him that he’s living in a different reality, that he doesn’t need to stand in line. Arreaza slaps: “I wish I had my own time and could stand in line to shop (…) you know it’s a production issue.”

He blamed the rest on the drop in oil prices and on the outdated design of our economy, but he forgot to mention the fake economic war, the imaginary blockades and U.S. sanctions.

Pedro won.

We have four days to tell more than 300,000 people where they must vote. Make sure you verify where you’re voting, even on Sunday itself.

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