December protests

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This Tuesday, I read a tweet saying that in Venezuela, public services don’t fail or break down, they just work from time to time. Painfully on point, it helps explain the multiple protests reported in several cities of the country caused by shortages of food, gasoline, cooking gas, the absence of CLAP bags (along with perniles and toys,) and unpaid christmas bonuses and wages. Many of these protests, such as the ones in Amazonas where there hasn’t been any gasoline for several days, were dispersed with tear gas and pellets, courtesy of the National Guard  -always so respectful of human rights-. There were food protests in Anzoátegui and Bolívar. According to journalist Javier Ignacio Mayorca, 28 people were arrested and 8 shops suffered damages in Bolívar during riots on December 25. People set tires on fire in Portuguesa in protest for the shortage of cooking gas and there were demonstrations in Mérida caused by unpaid liabilities and the shortages of cooking gas and gasoline. In Nueva Esparta, people protested to demand the CLAP bag and 20 people were arrested in Saucedo (Sucre) for doing the same; meanwhile, protesters in La Llanada and Maracaibo were demanding toys. In Caracas, the employees of the recently scrapped Metropolitan Mayor’s Office protested to demand payment for what the Administration owes them, and last night, Catia neighbors protested for the CLAP bag.

Power rationing

Maracaibo has been experiencing power outages for three days in a row and many areas of Caracas started the week in the dark. Corpoelec excused the first problems in Zulia claiming that some wiring had been stolen from the Punta de Palma substation, while the reports from Caracas were merely deemed a “malfunction”. But this Christmas, PDVSA also revealed new regulations meant to limit the sale of gasoline in the Llanos and Lara state: 30 liters for personal vehicles and moderate load trucks, and just five liters for motorcycles. This is supposed to “recover market balance,” but it’s just more imposing the same restrictions that states such as Táchira and Trujillo have been enduring for years, instead of making the necessary adjustment: stop subsidizing the real price of gasoline.

Venezuela’s power output has been insufficient to cover the needs for at least a decade, so we constantly suffer outages, we’ve been through electrical emergencies (that we’ve never overcome), the government wasted money on second-hand plants paid at a premium (thanks, bolichicos!) and Corpoelec became a financial train wreck, while the power crisis was used as an excuse to embezzle oil money.

Electrical Power minister Luis Motta Dominguez announced that the service will be rationed in Zulia starting this Tuesday, with programmed cuts of two to three hours daily, and he was bold enough to ask marabinos to be patient, while he explained the system’s inevitable collapse as “an extremely unconscionable and miserable act of sabotage,” the effective excuse for every system failure. Motta said that $55 million had been approved to install electrical wiring beneath Maracaibo Lake and governor Omar Prieto claimed that he’ll ramp up security in power substations through the “Plan against theft, robbery, vandalism and electrical sabotage”; genius.

 

Police business

Chacao mayor Gustavo Duque announced the end of the State’s takeover of the municipal police, which started in May, 2016. The Interior Ministry reported that Polichacao adjusted its performance to current regulations and closed the procedure, but the police department may be subject to further inspections and the measure may also be applied again whenever the impartial ministry deems necessary. By the way, 17 highly dangerous inmates escaped early on Sunday morning from the dungeons of CICPC offices in Ocumare del Tuy.

 

Two sides of the coin

Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called on the international community to abstain from meddling in the dialogue process between the government and the Venezuelan opposition so that both parties can reach an agreement, claiming that Russia is well aware of the alleged attempts of certain western partners to tamper with elections and celebrating the “very positive changes” achieved in gubernatorial and mayoral elections. Funny that he mentions the subject right when Russia’s Central Electoral Committee decided to ban opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running in presidential elections in March 2018. Meanwhile, former Bolivian president Jorge Quiroga urged the international community to demand the full freedom of all political prisoners in Venezuela without legitimizing the ANC: “the international community must demand full freedom, we must demand the re-democratization of Venezuela and never in exchange for legitimizing the Narco Cuban Assembly, the mechanism with which they seek to establish a new Cuba in the 21st Century.” He emphasized the need to demand elections involving all political parties without political disqualifications.

An insult

Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) three days after a fujimorista faction in Congress saved him from impeachment. Fujimori requested pardon on December 11, and a medical committee examined him and determined that he’s suffering from a “progressive, degenerative and untreatable disease” and that the conditions of his imprisonment represented a severe risk to his life. Kuczynski’s decision sparked condemnation from several sectors, including his own supporters, and two congressmen resigned their posts in protest, with the possibility of more resignations for what is now called the “infamous agreement:” pardoning Fujimori in exchange for his supporter’s help in blocking Kuczynski’s impeachment. The relatives of several of the victims of the massacres for which Fujimori was imprisoned have already called the president out, considering the pardon as an act of impunity.

“I’m aware of the results during my government, part of them were well-received, but I acknowledge, on the other hand, that I have let down other countrymen. I sincerely ask for their forgiveness,” said former president Alberto Fujimori in a video recorded from the clinic where he’s currently staying, claiming that the news of the pardon took him by surprise and shocked him, thanking “the complex step” taken by Kuczynski in approving it.

Meanwhile, the criticism for the measure continues, as it’s being deemed a precedent in favor of impunity, and the lawyer of the leader of the Peruvian guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso, Abimael Guzmán, demanded his release even though Guzmán was sentenced to life for terrorism. Aside from this, Brazil announced that they’ll retaliate for Venezuela’s most recent move and will declare chargé d’affaires Gerardo Antonio Delgado a persona non grata, giving him 72 hours to leave Brazilian territory. According to newspaper Folha do Sao Paulo, Delgado said that he hasn’t been informed for the decision and therefore, he won’t leave the country until he has an official response.

What now, Maikel?

It’s not been three days since chief justice Moreno claimed that the country’s courts were ready to apply the recommendations of the ANC and the Truth Commission regarding political prisoners. But yesterday, many of the prisoners who were released before Christmas found out that courts were closed, so they were unable to comply with the instruction: reporting to the courts in charge of their respective cases on the next working day following their release, so they remain uncertain about their situation. The lawyers waited for a court to be made available for them to set the record straight about their clients’ complying with the instruction, and many of the released prisoners offered statements to the media.

According to unofficial reports, other political prisoners would be released on December 30 and January 6.

Fourteen million

Cendas-FVM reported that the Basic Food Basket’s price for November was Bs. 13,883,365, an increase of almost eight millions compared to October (46.7 minimum wages, or 148.2%.) Venezuelans needed Bs. 462,779 per day to cover the food basket in November, more than two minimum wages daily! The annual variation for the November 2016 – November 2017 period (sit down, breathe and read) is 2,123.0%, or a bit less than seventy five minimum wages. Basic public services alone rose from Bs. 49,136 to Bs. 1,072,016, which makes former ambassador Rafael Ramírez’s “insights” all the more intolerable, as he talked about the economic situation that he helped consolidate and that he now blithely blames on a cocktail of “tremendous improvisation, ignorance, irresponsibility and inefficacy in handling complex matters such as inflation, monetary depreciation, shortages and dropping oil output.”

Reports say that José Luis Rodríguez “El Puma” is now able to walk and speak fluently after his double lung transplant.

 

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22 COMMENTS

    • Wow, lemme get this straight. Battle-hardened ISIS fighters are welcomed to return to Canada, but the Venezuelan ambassador is not? LOL

  1. Exactly. However if the Venezuelan diplomat volunteered for overseas duty on behalf of ISIS, he too, assuming an honorable disvharge would undoubtedly be considered for admission to Canada as a war refugee.Nice people those Canadians. Perhaps too nice for their own well being.

  2. We need Canucklehead to explain this to us.

    But I gotta admit, I don’t understand how you’re making a Canadian slash ISIS connection to anything.

    • The looney left Ira. Whether in Venezuela or Canada, they’re the gift that keeps on giving.

      https://youtu.be/lzvOZpbPXks

      In a year-end interview with one of Canada’s state television networks, CTV, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that he believes returning Jihadists — like those ISIS members headed back to Canada after losing the fight abroad — can be rehabilitated into “powerful” voices against radicalism within Canada.

      https://www.dailywire.com/news/24980/justin-trudeau-returning-isis-fighters-theyll-be-emily-zanotti#

      I’m thinking a northern wall might be in order.

      • Totally agree with the looney left description. The fundamental of life is that each living being makes its own decisions. No matter how much Joe may agree with Fred, or Jose with Raul, Auguste with Claude, Alexei with Sergei, Zin Hoa with ding Li, each has his own independence. The looney left seeks to impose an artificiality they call “order” upon a native order that is already in existence. Like a fisherman caught in his own net, they seek to beguile and entrap the looney to join them in their upside-down, lack-of-faith trap, convincing the stupid to agree with them to give up their independence – an impossibility. And trying to kill those who say “No, thank you very much!”

      • One small point of clarification: CTV is privately owned (Bell Media / BCE, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange ), it’s not a “state television network” … that would be the CBC.

    • Since Caracas Chronicles did a piece on Trump back before November 2016, this comments section has been populated by a small group of trolls who have an agenda that is not really about Venezuela. Since then, negative comments about Canada and Canadians have started showing up with frequency. That is a function of Quico’s status I assume, and of a regular commenter who identifies as Canadian: me. In the minds of these trolls, I am the representative of Canada here. As well as Justin Trudeau, and the world socialist movement.

      How did this happen? Why did most of the interesting commenters largely go away and a small handful of one-note zealots remain?

      Trumpism has given rise to a troll army that approaches internet discussion groups the way a four year old approaches nap time: with a lot of distracted behavior, histrionics, lashing out and name calling. Anything that can be thrown to try to discredit an opposing viewpoint, or even just a nuanced viewpoint, is game, whether it actually has anything to do with the discussion or the person’s actual point of view or not.

      So when MRubio brings up a story about Canada and the Middle East, the point of it is not to offer some insight into Venezuela, but to discredit Canadians and in particular to discredit me, because he knows I show up here regularly to comment. And he’s got a little band of brothers to back him up. He is king of the sandbox for a day.

      • Yeah, it’s sad. They’ve ruined these comments for me, and I think I”m not the only one judging by the steep drop off in comments in the last year (they are one of several contributing factors, IMO).

        This article is a good example.

        • Rory14, sorry to see that this section has been ruined for you, but maybe the absence of some former posters and the steep drop off in comments has more to do with the utter hoplessness of the situation that has developed since the protests were called off? Many, both inside and outside the country, felt the battle was being won before that white flag was raised last summer.

          Sure, while there are still some interesting articles and subjects being presented, how many of these stories are simply retreads about how deploreable things have gotten? For christ’s sake, we know how bad things are, many who post here live here, and many who do not still have family here.

          Toss in the occassional obligatory leftist, “what can Venezuela do to reduce its carbon footprint” story, and some folks probably just throw their hands in the air and walk away.

          Naky’s articles are by far my favorites because she covers events as they’re unfolding. Current events always interest me the most. And when I can get on line, I’ll comment if the subject matter interests me. Sorry if I say something from time to time that offends you. Hope you stick around.

      • “Trump derangement syndrome has given rise to a troll army that approaches internet discussion groups the way a four year old approaches nap time: with a lot of distracted behavior, histrionics, lashing out and name calling. Anything that can be thrown to try to discredit an opposing viewpoint, or even just a nuanced viewpoint, is game, whether it actually has anything to do with the discussion or the person’s actual point of view or not.”

        FIFY

      • Get over yourself Cannuck. While playing the victim card is typical of leftists, it’s over the top here, especially for you. You’re known to have dished out your share of insults and snarky comments to those with whom you disagree politically, just as Quico has.

        I suspect that your problem with my commenting on the Trudeau’s latest lunacy is that even you cannot bring yourself to carry his water on this one. If that’s the case, there may be hope for you yet, though I doubt it.

        And commenting about the policies of leftists and socialists around the world is germane here because it’s those very policies and beliefs that have brought this country to brink of a humanitarian disaster.

        So stop your whining drama queen and defend your beliefs if you feel slighted.

        • I see. Justin Trudeau is socialist. World socialism is germane here. Therefore I guess….everything Justin Trudeau says is of interest to readers here.

          Maybe you could contribute your own daily Justin rundown!

          Dude, you have to do better than go around attributing thoughts, opinions actions and beliefs to people that are not true, in order to make yourself feel worthwhile. I know your Man has made a spectacular success of himself purveying this kind of bullshit, but for us common folks, it is just off putting to most people (Venezuelans or otherwise).

          And this Canada hating thing is not making me feel victimized: it’s a joke. You are inciting feelings of hated against Canadians to…score points in an internet comments section??!! That’s freaking nuts man.

          • I love Canada. Hunted deer there every November for many years. Hope to go back there soon when I feel comfortable enough to leave my business here for a few weeks. Love Canadian beef too, some of the best in the world. The women are okay, though I can’t say I’ve really gotten to know any of them personally. Don’t understand that silly game of sweeping the ice in front of the globe thingy. What’s it called, curling?

            Don’t really pay much attention to Trudeau at all. Just couldn’t believe his comments on accepting jihadist ISIS fighters into Canada because they could powerful voices against terrorism. I’m betting most will instead become explosions some day killing many Canadians.

            Can’t say Trump didn’t warn the idiot.

  3. There is a financial reason that 90% of all Canadian citizens live within 100 miles of the US/Canada border. During the American Revolutionary War British loyalists fled to Canada but they didn’t flee all that far. Today merchants in the Mall of America thrive on the folks from Thunder Bay bringing down their Canadian dollars, we love currency with the likeness of the Queen of England. So, don’t agree with a northern wall as it would stifle the flow of wealth from Canada to The Peoples Republic of Minnesota.

  4. New York Times story describes PDVSA as “near collapse” describing its Punto Fijo facility as operating at 20% of capacity. Could this end without bloodshed?

    • From my perspective, the entire country is “near collapse”, the economy not brought to its knees, but lying flat on its back gasping for air.

      Therefore, we can expect at least another 5 years of chavismo winning elections.

      • My cynical thinking leads me to believe that the military was behind the prisoner release. I think they would also want to be in on any negotiated transition. You can get away with relatively short stints in prison for narco-trafficking with a plea deal. Human rights violations I am not so sure.

        • Waltz, agree fully with your cynical thinking.

          I don’t watch Chavez-TV much anymore but happened to turn on the tube today. Padrino Lopez was addressing some group and make a point of saying that the military is not interested in running the country. Of course, that same military now controls the import and distribution of food products and now PDVSA so it was, to say the least, an odd thing for him to say.

          Many here locally feel something’s going to give soon, except no one knows what it’s going to be. Prices for many essential products are now doubling about every two weeks. This can’t go on forever.

          • If by “without bloodshed” you mean “handing it over another chavista faction” then, yes, it is possible. Is no good for venezuelans though,

            and is probably the thing adecos are looking forward so they can get some useless seats in a new government that would keep the party`s cash flow going

  5. “I am the representative… the world socialist movement. ”

    And you call other people on discreting you? you should be ashamed. You sponsor the same garbage that ruined Venezuela and are playing the victim. Your posts are a handful of cognitive dissonance

    I am not even a trumpist you schmuck, not everyone that hates communists and their bullshit is. Like is not trie already that calling everyone who is not a socialist scum a Fascist is the oldest trope in the leftist book of fallacies. I bet you think Venezuela is not “real” sociallism but one 100% capitalist nation like Canada is.

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