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.

Quickly!

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.

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