During the Weekend

Your daily briefing for Moday, October 30, 2017. Written by Javier Liendo.

Last Friday, CNE chief Tibisay Lucena announced the electoral timetable for municipal elections in December, but she didn’t mention a specific date. Mayoral nominations must be submitted starting today, and the admissions process will take place November 1st through 3rd. The same electoral registers that were used for ANC polls and regional elections will be used this time. Even electoral committees will be the same.

In the wake of this announcement, an embattled MUD, struggling with its recent defeat, is yet to say whether they will run again.

Meanwhile, Zulia Legislative Council chairwoman, Magdely Valbuena, was unconstitutionally sworn in as governor, and vowed to protect the careful work of “the best governor Zulia has ever known, Francisco Arias Cárdenas.” I’m sure we’ll find her suitable to the task (not).

On Sunday, FAN Strategic Operational Command chief, Remigio Ceballos, said that Bs. 2,3 billion were confiscated in new banknotes about to be smuggled to who knows where. He also said that they had captured 114 aircrafts breaching Venezuela’s airspace, that 74 laboratories in the Orinoco Mining Arc were “sanitized” (whatever that means) and 30,000 soldiers were deployed to patrol the border. In an interview with José Vicente Rangel, he claimed that the opposition had “called for violence in the streets” after the October 15th defeat, and “when the authority finds resistance, the authority must act” (justifying the brutal repression by security forces). Additionally, Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López says that the “economic war” against Venezuela has intensified after the popular victory on regional elections. Needless to say, there’s not an iota of sense or truth in any of this.


Yesterday was the National Day for the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that a child is born in Venezuela to a teenage mother every three minutes, accounting for 20% to 25% of all childbirths. The social, educational, clinical and economic implications of this, amidst the most severe crisis in our history, are disastrous. According to UNFPA’s official, Andrea Pereira, both the Fund and the Ministry of Health are carrying out awareness and prevention campaigns to get the situation under control. But due to restrictions in access to resources, as well as adequate professional staffing, these initiatives are insufficient.

Lara’s setting up stations to vaccinate citizens against diphtheria, after Carabobo, Yaracuy and Portuguesa were hit by an outbreak they’re scrambling to keep in check.