Less Every Day

For Friday, January 19, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Reuters, retrieved

In his first month as chairman of PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo showed the consequences of taking on a role for which he has no preparation whatsoever: oil output dropped by 216,300 barrels per day (12%), reaching the sad figure of 1,621,000 barrels per day in December. Additionally, for the first time in at least 15 years, Venezuela reported less output to OPEC than secondary sources, becoming the worst performing member and not respecting the commitment to cut down production. This output drop hits oil exports and refining, intensifying fuel shortages in the country, proving that the largest reserves in the world are nothing when we lack the know-how to give them value. Quevedo lacks the knowledge and the staff necessary to fulfill the promise of increasing output and he won’t solve the other drama affecting PDVSA: they’re delivering low-quality crude to refineries in the United States, India and China, causing complaints, the cancellation of orders and demands for discounts. Meanwhile, OPEC fills the gap left by the drop in Venezuelan production with supply from non-member countries.

In the Dominican Republic

The opposition didn’t attend to the round of negotiations with the government set for yesterday, due to the controversy caused by the death of Óscar Pérez and his team, as well as the absence of the foreign ministers of mediator countries. Only Bolivian Minister Fernando Huanacuni and Nicaragua’s Denis Moncada made it to the meeting. Dominican Foreign Ministry spokesman Hugo Beras said yesterday morning that their own minister; former president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and the attending ministers were in a meeting “to define and determine the most convenient date for resuming dialogue as soon as possible.” Last night, Minister Miguel Vargas said that for various reasons, the opposition wasn’t present and that they’ve been talking with the ministers who didn’t attend, claiming that they’re committed to establishing a new date for the meetings. Zapatero said that they won’t yield and that “the government has the most to give, but both parties must show willingness.” So impartial.

Jorge’s version

Meanwhile, Jorge Rodríguez used the opposition’s absence to claim that they didn’t attend because of futile causes and that minister Reverol never mentioned that the opposition information to locate Óscar Pérez was provided during negotiations. He developed an even more humiliating script for the massacre, saying that they were planning to kill Nicolás along with Defense Minister Padrino López, Vice-President El Aissami, imposed Prosecutor General Saab, PSUV Vice-President Cabello and dissident leaders whom they considered traitors. Rodríguez said that their agreement included broad guarantees for the coming electoral process, with international monitoring and institutional respect, as well as a generous proposal to allow the UN to send an electoral mission, taking the opportunity to suggest Zapatero as its leader.


The National Electoral Council published on its website the schedule that political parties called to revalidate must follow:

  • January 18 and 19 to submit the revalidation request and the list of national and local authorities
  • January 23 and 25 to submit the list of witnesses for signature reception campaigns
  • January 27 and 28 to collect signatures
  • January 30 and 31 for voters to challenge the process and for CNE to verify the revalidation list
  • February 3 and 4 to “repair” signatures
  • February 5 and 7 to publish the results of the preliminary report
  • February 15 for the decision to be announced

All of this while still failing to solve the lack of lawmakers representing Amazonas state since January 2016, or the challenge to gubernatorial election results filed by Andrés Velásquez. Juan Pablo Guanipa restated that Primero Justicia won’t participate in the process.

Henry the candidate

With an even more crooked sense of opportunity than the imposed Prosecutor General and the Ombudsman themselves, Acción Democrática leader Henry Ramos Allup said that the opposition will announce primaries for presidential elections on January 24, that MUD is assembling a campaign for primaries and that the campaign should be ready in six weeks. He took the chance to ratify his candidacy. He didn’t clarify whether the opposition will run in presidential elections without access to a newly formed CNE, he only asked to wait for the negotiation’s results.

Brief and serious

  • The Venezuelan Society of Hematology expressed concern for the state of blood banks in the country and asked the government and the Health Ministry to solve the shortage of reagents and supplies.
  • Sundde reported the inspection of Procter & Gamble and Nestlé to impose the price adjustment demanded by El Aissami, because denying hyperinflation will stop it. By the way, the black market dollar reached Bs. 201,787 yesterday.
  • Several Venezuelan human rights organizations signed a statement demanding an independent investigation after the serious human rights violations committed in the “Massacre at El Junquito.” Also, the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference condemned the massacre and demanded a swift and objective investigation.
  • Human Rights Watch asked the Lima Group to intensify the pressure on the Venezuelan government sanctioning its authorities and taking the case before the International Criminal Court, remarking that there are no chances of greater progress without stronger international pressure.
  • Journalist Gabriela Gonzáles reports from the Bello Monte morgue that Irene Olazo (wife of Juan Carlos Caguaripano) and Margaret Baduel (daughter of political prisoner Raúl Isaías Baduel) went there to bring food to the families of the victims. The GN recognized them and withheld their cédulas. Later, they arrested Irene Olazo.
  • The families of the victims of the Massacre at El Junquito have been waiting for 12 hours at the morgue with offers of psychological attention before seeing the bodies, delays waiting for a military prosecutor, offers to make funeral preparations and warnings that the bodies were already decomposing. And these aren’t even the only irregularities being reported.

They were massacred and humiliated, and their families have been denied the possibility of identifying their bodies. Thus, chavismo breaks its own record of malevolence.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. https://www.lapatilla.com/site/2018/01/18/personas-comen-la-basura-del-restaurante-punta-grill-fotos/

    People eat garbage from Punta Grill restaurant (Photos)

    Through social networks several images were published in which you can see a group of about twenty people, waiting outside the Punta Grill restaurant in Las Mercedes, in the Baruta municipality.

    In the images you can see that the large group of people, including a child, wait until a restaurant employee leaves to get rid of the trash of the store, for them to start checking the contents of the bags to search by edible remains.

    On Twitter, the citizens echoed the images to reject the situation, hold the government accountable and call for a protest against the hunger that Venezuelans are currently facing, as expressed through their accounts.


    How much longer, eh? Do brawls have to start over garbage before someone with some BALLS take the REAL GARBAGE OUT?

  2. “Henry the candidate”

    Like a crow picking through the garbage… it is hard to discern who is more despicable. Maduro or the likes of Allup.

    Oh well, its at least comforting to know that the United States isn’t the only nation whose political parties can field perpetual scumbags and opportunists as their “best candidate”.

  3. “Venezuela reported less output to OPEC than secondary sources, becoming the worst performing member and not respecting the commitment to cut down production.”

    Not sure I agree with the last half of this sentence. If any country is committed to cutting down production, it’s Venezuela.

    “By the way, the black market dollar reached Bs. 201,787 yesterday.” 211,337 today … (DolarToday).

  4. Very strange for Venezuela to be reporting a bigger drop in production than Opecs secondary sources which for years have reported a lower production figure than Venezuelas official one , the difference is of about a 100kbd ….(1.75 vs 1.62) , maybe we are telling the chinese we cant make full payment because of the fall in production or preparing the scenario for when the country has to negotiate with its creditors the hair cut thats coming to them ……., in any event the real figure be it one of the other signals a breakdown in the countrys production capacity such as never has been experienced before , not even at the time of the oil strike …

    • I’ve heard it said that the idea is that they reported such a drop as to report a rise next time. As in, if next report is just the same as December’s secondary sources, hey, we are ramping up production!

      Sounds crazy and a bit like cheating at solitaire.

      So sounds very much Chavista

  5. It is laughable that these so-called human rights groups and NGOs that are complaining about the poor living standards are the same collaborators who helped bring Chavismo to the people of Venezuela.

    I can only imagine the graft that these organizations are performing on the people’s behalf.

    My roommate from college confirmed that contacts of VZ oil have gone down. Not just because of the exchange controls but because there is simply less oil getting pumped.

    I would normally bet on how soon it will all collapse, but, there is still plenty more fail waiting to happen.

    “Here, hold my beer…”

  6. To be fair, you can’t blame the new CEO for the drop in production on his first month on the job. Especially when that month is over the Xmas holiday and most of the staff are gone trying to find food and christmas goodies. The conditions that set up that drop in production were set in place long before he showed up. He doesn’t own a magic wand that makes equipment repair itself and start working. It takes time and resources to undo the damage that has been done.

    Not that I expect him to do any better.

    If I were him, I would immediately dollarize PDVSA and pay only 50% of the bond coupons. Stop all dividends. Apply the rest of the dollar revenue that they are getting to improving equipment.

    If he can pay part of the PDVSA bonds, dollarize, and demonstrate a real commitment to repairing production equipment all along the line, getting rid of crap staff, and other improvements, then the bond holders will realize that they have to take a hair cut and wait. Better 20% than 0% on their investment.

    The VZ government will have to live without oil dividends for a while. It is going to happen. It is only a matter of when. The sooner they realize this, the better.

    • Is this your first time visiting here, and only recently started learning about what’s been going in VZ over the past 18 years?

      No offense at all. God bless you for being interested.

      But you don’t seem to fully understand the lunacy which Chavismo has brought to the country.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here