Central Bank chairman Ramón Lobo announced that he’ll meet with the heads of public and private banks to develop the technological adequation of platforms and ATMs to the new monetary tender, which he claimed would “simplify transactions and operations.” Lobo guaranteed the application of a plan to avoid the extraction of the current tender, even without solving the extraction of the previous one, but don’t worry, because they’re already developing “the solutions and appropriate technological adequations.” The most serious part of his statement was the claim that the new banknotes will be valid “after demonetizing the current bills”; omitting the months it took to achieve that with the previous reconversion, when we weren’t in hyperinflation and we didn’t have a debt of such magnitude; when dollars abounded, we had open credits and there was no shortage of cash. The costs of this reform will be lost and the three zeroes will soon return, just like Nicolás’ increasingly poorly dyed grey hair.
PDVSA La Campiña employees protested in the dining room due to unpaid debts. Employees demanded the resignation of Manuel Quevedo, the soldier who knows nothing about oil yet chairs the company. The National Guard, profoundly efficient for repression, was the center of a video that went viral on social media.
— Laura Rangel (@LicLauraRangel) March 23, 2018
Meanwhile, Rodolfo Rojas, secretary of the workers union of the National Bureau for the Defense of Socio-Economic Rights (SUNDDE), denounced before the Labour Ministry that 2,000 employees were arbitrarily laid off, without justification. According to Rojas, SUNDDE is “paralyzed, shut down; because the State is not protecting socio-economic rights,” and despite that, he demanded that (sanctioned) superintendent William Contreras rehire all those who were fired, although most of them held posts that could be freely appointed and removed. Rojas asked Labour minister Néstor Ovalles to facilitate the rehiring process, since he’s sent notices to Nicolás, Tareck El Aissami and ANC members, but none of them has answered.
Walid’s Instagram account
Raúl Isaías Baduel has been isolated for weeks. Yesterday, lawmaker Gilber Caro’s family was again denied the possibility to visit him. There are several political prisoners who have been issued release warrants ignored by their executioners, but Walid Makled, sentenced in 2015 for drug trafficking and money laundering, can freely use and feed his Instagram account with pictures, videos and texts, making accusations and threats at leisure, and no authority interferes with his creativity.
His most recent video was meant to threaten Clíver Alcalá, the soldier who put him in jail in 2014, accusing him of “terrorism and drug trafficking,” promising him a cell with his name. But a few weeks ago, Makled accused former PDVSA chairman Rafael Ramírez of trafficking drugs in oil tankers, claiming that Ramírez pocketed $20 billion for this activity, so he demands the U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments to arrest him. Enlightening!
A poor villain
Jorge Rodríguez travelled to Spain to defend the legitimacy and transparency of May 20 elections. The interview he granted to newspaper El País proved that he’s lost the touch to surf foreseeable questions, which he answered with more disdain than information. Rodríguez thinks that the government has been a success and “that it’s faced the most important challenges of the late 20th century and early 21th”; sadly, he forgot to mention that they’ve done it while dragging us to live in 19th century conditions. He resolved the shortage of food and medicines by claiming that he doesn’t deny they have difficulties, so cute! The dependency on CLAP boxes isn’t a patronage system and claimed that people can buy whatever they want but “induced inflation” is the true obstacle. He explained the highest inflation in the world with the political maneuvering of private economic sectors and smuggling to Colombia; and he blamed PDVSA’s dwindling output on corruption, ridding chavismo of any responsibility in appointing corrupt officials in posts of authority. He denied the existence of political prisoners, insulted Luis Almagro, claimed that May 20 voter turnouts will break records, disregarded how they’ve attacked the National Assembly and remarked that peace arrived to the country with the ANC’s election. He dismissed the mass exodus of Venezuelans, explaining it as an effect of the psychological war, but relax, the minister said: “we’re already working on a plan to invite those Venezuelans back into the country.”
The HHRR of HHRR abusers
Larry Devoe, Jorge Arreaza and Delcy Rodríguez said on Twitter that the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution in favor of Venezuela, condemning all coercitive, unilateral measures (sanctions) imposed against Venezuelan officials.
Consejo de DDHH #ONU aprueba resolución presentada por Venezuela -Presidencia #MNOAL , condenando las medias coercitivas unilaterales (sanciones). Vean la votación. Son notables las pretensiones arrogantes de dominación de EEUU y sus aliados. Triunfo del multilateralismo y la Paz pic.twitter.com/djKcNAsMND
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) March 23, 2018
The text with which they back up this “achievement” of the Non Aligned Countries Movement only contains the decision’s recitals; they didn’t share the decision itself, but they did include a list of votes that leaves us at least with a couple of questions about the consistency of the Lima Group’s work: why did Brazil and Mexico abstain from voting? Why did Chile and Peru voted in favor? It’s absurd for the Human Rights Council to say that individual sanctions against corrupt officials and/or human rights abusers “prevent the full attainment of economic and social development,” much less if they took note of the report issued by the Office of the High Commission of the United Nations regarding Venezuela.
- According to foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, Nicolás and Vladimir Putin are interested in meeting soon to strengthen bilateral relations; an interest they expressed this Friday over a phone call.
- Martín Vizcarra was sworn in as President of Peru and set the main goals for his government: recovering governability and the trust in institutions, and reach economic stability.
- Jamaica’s government formally offered to buy 49% of PDVSA’s shares in Petrojam, according to Energy minister Andrew Wheatley.
- U.S. chargé d’affaires Todd Robinson said that it would be Venezuelans who decide whether May 20 elections are credible or not. He expressed his willingness to meet with Nicolás.
- Colombia’s Defense minister Luis Carlos Villegas told Venezuelan authorities that the ELN guerrilla and the niche of EPL are operating in our territory and that they expect that a “great reaction will allow for greater peace.”
- Julio Borges and Carlos Vecchio met with senator Marco Rubio, who ratified his ongoing effort “to restore freedom and democracy.”
- Last night, North Korea accepted to participate in an inter-Korean dialogue next week.
The exchange rate resulting from the 7th DICOM auction was Bs. 49,545.63 per dollar, a 12.81% variation in a week, and the bolívar’s depreciation was estimated at 11.36%. This Saturday, March 24, the CNE will choose the location of political parties on the ballot, an activity that should’ve been done on March 21, according to the schedule.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.