Yesterday, the lawmakers of the National Assembly’s Finance Committee commented on their National Price Index: “inflation for February was estimated at 80%, so interannual inflation rose to 6,147% and cumulative inflation for the first two months of the year rose to 164.2%. The lack of control in public spending, fiscal indiscipline and restrictions and regulations in a crumbling economy, explain part of this tragedy. Hyperinflation has destroyed our currency to the point that a Bs. 100,000 banknote — which started circulating in November 2017 — has already lost 80% of its value,” according to lawmaker José Guerra. As if on cue, later in the day BCV chairman Ramón Lobo announced the relaunching of the new Bs. 100,000 with other security elements, such stupidity, considering how low the forgery risk and how urgent the need of incorporating higher denominations is. For the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal), Venezuela is the only country in the region that won’t grow in 2018 and they estimate a 5.5% drop in our GDP.
Nicolás held a cadena to celebrate the creation of the Local Committees of Supply and Production (CLAP) that, according to the Economic Emergency Decree, were created to gradually reduce the dependency on external supply of strategic products, although they’re the best mechanism of dependency to the State and they keep importing thousands of tons of food and making foreign private companies rich in the process, but according to Nicolás, the “chains of the oil rent have been broken.”
With the fast increase of inflation, shortages have grown more serious, but for him, the CLAP mark the way to “non-speculative food security” since they’re a route for guaranteed supply; despite everyday protests evidencing the opposite.
— VTV CANAL 8 (@VTVcanal8) March 12, 2018
— VTV CANAL 8 (@VTVcanal8) March 12, 2018
Nicolás made an effort — by sheer pre-production, abundance and optimism — to overshadow Diosdado Cabello’s statement recognizing the dissatisfaction within the Armed Forces, “but there’s full awareness of where we must go.”
Let’s dance for rain
The considerable malfunctions of the national power system were distributed among several spokesmen and causes, emphasizing droughts, fires and sabotage. For Electrical Energy minister Luis Motta Domínguez, the issue lies in the low water levels in La Vueltosa dam (Barinas), which not only cripples water services, but also affects the Peña Larga and Leonardo Ruíz Pineda dams. But don’t worry, in a period no greater than 15 days, Motta will come up with “a solution to this situation that’s caused by mother nature.”
Interior minister Néstor Reverol shows on Twitter his inspection at the “Don Luis Zambrano” power plant (Mérida), announcing the activation of a Contingency Plan to monitor the behaviour of the power system and the installation of a situation room to follow the issue.
Lastly, vice-president El Aissami asked people in affected locals to be “understanding” and claimed that the system will start normalizing in the next few days, while he keeps denouncing electrical sabotage.
In the Brazilian Roraima state, people denounced that Venezuela suspended power services since Saturday, and the 10 cities that depend on it suffered constant blackouts.
All of these authorities should read the statements of engineer José Aguilar for El Pitazo, who explains in simple terms that a production deficit of thermal megawatts in the plants located in the country’s southwest is one of the causes for the failure affecting so many states. In his view, “the system is experiencing a serious malfunction that the minister has yet to accept.”
Don’t validate the fraud
The Broad Front for a Free Venezuela met in UN headquarters in Caracas to express their condemnation for presidential elections set for May 20, calling them fraudulent. Dissident chavista Sergio Sánchez read the statement they took with them, with these opening words: “Nicolás Maduro’s regime, supported by the spurious and illegitimate ANC and by the CNE, unconstitutionally convened an illegitimate and fraudulent electoral process for May 20.”
Lawmaker Delsa Solórzano submitted the document accompanied by other representatives and clarified that the Broad Front is not an abstentionist movement: “We want to vote, but we want to vote in a real, free process, convened in compliance with the Constitution (…) We’re demanding the UN not to validate that fraud,” she said.
Víctor Márquez, representative of the UCV’s Teachers Association, said that they’ll call for a another protest on Saturday and that the Broad Front’s actions won’t be conventional.
- Lawmaker Julio Borges and Carlos Vecchio met with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, as part of the Broad Front’s activities to seek support to hold elections with guarantees. Peña Nieto expressed his commitment with the recovery of democracy.
- Remember PDVSA’s lawsuit against Helsinge, Inc.? Well, yesterday, Geneva’s regional prosecutors arrested a couple of Helsinge, Inc. executives -without saying names- for suspicions of corruption and money laundering.
- With several Venezuelan states in the dark, foreign minister Jorge Arreaza attended the Founding Conference of International Solar Alliance in New Delhi (India), and stated that Venezuela has the responsibility to develop solar power, so cute. He used his press conference to claim that Nicolás will attend the Summit of the Americas because he’ll be backed by many governments. Good luck, eh.
- Luisa Ortega Díaz said that she’ll travel this Friday to The Hague to broaden the accusation she filed before the International Criminal Court, submitting documents that include evidence linking Nicolás with Óscar Pérez’s murder. It’s absurd that she participated in a debate about the Venezuelan human rights crisis, presenting herself as a champion of the justice she denied and vilified.
- The “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” Oskar Gröning, one of the last nazis to be tried for his actions during the Second World War 70 years after it ended, died yesterday at 96 years old. During his trial, he asked forgiveness for his moral failure, confessing that he never found “inner peace.” I still wish him a hot cauldron.
The online registration for the candidacies of those aspiring to be state legislative council lawmakers starts today. By the way, it’s been 12 days since Tibisay Lucena said that in a few hours she’d report the rescheduling of activities of the electoral timetable and she hasn’t done that, violating article 42 of the Framework Law on Electoral Processes (Lopre) and patching everything with tweets and press releases: violating the rules became a law to them.
Meanwhile, Nicolás claims that he’ll never give guarantees for others to win over him, breaks the agreement he signed with his contenders and feels in a position to criticize Colombia’s electoral system.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.