Launching a new format for his Sunday show, without an audience and shortened, yesterday Nicolás appointed major general Manuel Quevedo as both head of PDVSA (replacing Nelson Martínez) and Energy minister (replacing Eulogio Del Pino). Quevedo is remembered for his repressive crackdown on 2014 protests and knows nothing about the oil industry, but Nicolás believes in him.
Allegedly, the main demand of the State-owned oil company is: “purge, purge, purge in PDVSA!”, so Nicolás ordered Quevedo to: “Find the most committed employees so that PDVSA once again becomes the PDVSA roja rojita that the Revolution needs.”
The presidential speech didn’t mention the need for reinvestment or for improving output, not a single mention of the coming post-default crisis. Suddenly, the priority is weeding out the corruption established by chavismo itself over 18 years and with that mission accomplished, Venezuela will then be “a world energy power,” obviously, because in order to produce oil, we don’t need specialized technicians but loyal militants. Without a single sign of remorse, Nicolás militarizes the oil industry, the country’s main source of foreign income. Now imagine the reaction of PDVSA bondholders…
Castlings, like always
José Vielma Mora returns to the Executive cabinet as Foreign Trade minister, replacing Miguel Pérez Abad who will remain as head of Banco Bicentenario. The former governor is charged with finding other products to export in exchange for dollars, even though there’s no food or medicines. Export-worthy products must come up without raw materials or investments.
Ildemaro Villarroel is now Housing minister and must build 600,000 housing units in 2018, with who knows what materials or where. General Carlos Osorio is now Transport minister, replacing his military colleague Juan de Jesús García Toussaintt. Without mentioning the lack of spare parts or the endless price increase of the few parts that can still be found in the country, Nicolás claimed that the first order of business in Transport is recovering 500 units (?) burnt down during guarimbas.
Sick? Show me your carnet
The government started freely distributing some medicines on Saturday, in order to mitigate the shortage in the country – 95% according to the most recent estimates –, but pointing out that in order to access them, patients must have the carnet de la patria, the filter to benefit from any social program, the crown jewel of chavismo’s instruments of social control.
Foreseeably, the announcement means that there are no medicines enough to satisfy the demand we’re – literally – suffering, so social networks will remain a space for urgent requests of medicines, while the government keeps denying the humanitarian crisis and more people die everyday due to its indolence.
National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges restated that the priority for negotiations with the government to be held in the Dominican Republic are food and medicines for Venezuelans. In his view, the priority must be the creation of a humanitarian channel followed by a democratic government change: “so that we can establish the conditions for Venezuelans to procure, through vote, the change of government that’s urgent in the country.” Borges said that this Monday, they’ll reveal the committee that will attend the meeting next weekend, with the observation of Foreign ministers from Chile, Paraguay, México, Bolivia and Nicaragua, as well as president Danilo Medina, representing the host country.
Prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz admitted the mistakes that prevented actions to halt “the authoritarian wave” in Venezuela on time, recognising she was part of such wave for so long. In her message for the 48th anniversary of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Day she addressed employees:
— Luisa Ortega Díaz (@lortegadiaz) November 26, 2017
“These are hard times for all of us, but I know that through the years in which we built strong and modern institutions you had the chance to develop a sense of belonging and identity that will make us overcome the dictatorship’s pitfalls,” says the document, adding:
“With absolute responsibility and committed with the future, I admit before you, the mistakes that prevented us from timely halting the authoritarian wave that was imposed on our institution and the country’s constitutional order.”
She called for fortitude with the certainty that “they don’t have much time left.”
The flu is winning, but I go on.
– As Luisa says: it doesn’t have much time left –.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.