As a consequence of the October, 15th elections “marred by irregularities,” yesterday the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned each of these Venezuelan citizens:
- CNE board member Socorro Hernández
- CNE board member Sandra Oblitas
- CNE Deputy rector Carlos Quintero
- Minister Ernesto Villegas
- CANTV President Manuel Fernández
- Conatel head Jorge Márquez Monsalve
- Misión Transporte head Carlos Osorio
- Venezuelan ambassador to Italy Isaías Rodríguez
- National Constituent Assembly member Elvis Hidrobo Amoroso
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pointed out that they’ll keep working to sanction officials who are allies in Nicolás’s attempts to “undermine democracy, violate human rights, inhibit the freedom of expression or peaceful assembly” and also those who engage in corruption.
Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza condemned the sanctions claiming that they’re “unilateral coercive measures” that show contempt for the people “by disregarding their sovereign will,” while he applauds the election of a new governor in Zulia and the hate law that we shouldn’t be calling that way, because of where it came from. Coherent.
Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), believes that the hate law approved by the ANC is alarming: “It will have the systematic effect of inhibiting criticism within the country, because all human beings naturally fear suffering in a regime without guarantees, it’s much more serious that it might seem at first,” he explained in his preliminary comments, while the IACHR is studying the text recently approved and preparing a report on the situation of human rights in Venezuela.
“Important to note the totally draconian and disproportionate punishments established by the law for those who engage in those expressions, prison sentences of 10 to 20 years, which could even be compared to a murder,” he added.
According to the expert, the decline in Venezuela has been constant and gradual, but until now, there were still certain guarantees for journalists and dissidents, yet the “law” creates the conditions for persecution and for the establishment of an absolutely totalitarian State, emphasizing that “the last free space in Venezuela, social media, will be shut down.”
The government promised investors invited to discuss the debt restructuring that officials sanctioned by the U.S. won’t take part in the meeting, according to reports by Reuters, while several economists consulted by AFP dismissed the risk of a general crisis in view of eventual default, because the markets have anticipated that possibility some time ago.
The three main financial rating agencies (Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s) once again lowered their respective ratings on Venezuela, saying that it’s “highly probable” that Venezuela will default on its debt, estimated at $150 billion.
Venezuela’s default sets a new record in State insolvency, exceeding Argentina, which defaulted on $100 billion in 2001. “It will for sure be the most complicated default in history, but it will also have the least global impact,” says Christopher Dembik of Saxo Banque.
For Tony Springer, head of Fitch, the meeting scheduled for Monday will be “the start of a long and painful process.”
Additionally, it was also revealed yesterday that PDVSA hasn’t honored its debt with India’s State-run oil company ONGC in six months.
What happened to the conditions?
The government and the opposition will resume negotiations next Wednesday 15th in the Dominican Republic to discuss the crisis and seek guarantees ahead of presidential elections in 2018, both parties announced.
“We’re ready to start a negotiation process and build electoral conditions for a democratic resolution,” said lawmaker Luis Florido. His statement was confirmed by minister Jorge Rodríguez.
UN and Vatican representatives, as well as a group of countries chosen by each side will be present: Chile, Mexico and Paraguay (from the Lima Group) chosen by MUD, and Bolivia and Nicaragua, chosen by the government.
Florido said that the economic crisis, the release of political prisoners and the restitution of the Legislative Branch’s authority are the subjects proposed by the opposition delegation. For Parliament Speaker Julio Borges, the goal is “to achieve a reliable presidential election.”
Lawmaker Luis Barragán claimed that Luis Florido lied because Vente Venezuela has never met him, adding that this dialogue doesn’t involve all lawmakers and that the essential role of the National Assembly is vindication, not cohabitation with the regime, so he demands three tasks: negotiating the necessary conditions to oust the dictatorship, vindicate Parliament’s authority and being transparent with the country. Vente made their rejection public in a statement, saying that this new attempt at dialogue is fraudulent, in the certainty that it was designed to benefit the regime.
Florido responded on Twitter to Barragán’s statements claiming that the decision to establish conditions and start negotiations was accepted by all parties, including Vente.
The International Labor Organization decided yesterday in its administration council to send a mission to Venezuela to investigate alleged violations committed by the government against agreements on social dialogue, which were denounced by institutions such as Fedecámaras.
The decision was made at the request of the Lima Group and the mission will come to the country in January 2018 to collect information on the government’s actions regarding issues of economic and salary interest.
Additionally, Venezuela could soon be visited by Russian warships, according to a document signed by Russian minister Dmitri Medvedev to open the corresponding negotiations in Caracas. The draft of the agreement establishes that the visits of the three warships will have a maximum duration of 15 days, and that the country’s airspace and airports will be used for transporting the necessary technical material for the warships’ maintenance. Todo bello.
There was no place for “Una noche tan linda como esas”, the 65th edition of the Miss Venezuela pageant went unnoticed, with a black market dollar at Bs. 50,000. The announcement of Star Wars’ new trilogy caused a bigger fuss.