Another Preventable Death

Your daily briefing for Saturday, April 7, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

This Friday and for a third day straight, parents and patients of the JM de los Ríos Children’s Hospital protested demanding medical supplies to treat their children. Last night, Richard Daniel González, a child with acute leukemia interned in that hospital, died for lack of treatment, raising the protest signs and the demand for a humanitarian channel to another level. This was another preventable death, but the government’s indifference is disproportionate now. In fact, Nicolás decided to use the start of the National Vaccination Plan as an event of his electoral campaign –a master of embezzlement- and announced this obligation of the State as a personal donation and, to worsen the abuse, Health minister Luis López remarked that they’ll “keep a better record of administered vaccines” with the carnet de la patria. Our humanitarian emergency is complex and the magnitude of ongoing epidemics, demand combined actions far beyond the distribution of vaccines and the offer of fumigations. Previous vaccination campaigns haven’t kept measles and diphtheria epidemics at bay, and without data, since the epidemiological bulletin is now as opaque as our economic indicators, it’s impossible to develop a proper strategy.

Panama-Venezuela crisis


Clarifying the point about the Panama Canal’s neutrality, and with the confirmation that Wingo will continue operating in Venezuela, just like Venezuelan airlines will continue operating in Panama, vice-president Tareck El Aissami said that Nicolás had called ambassador Jorge Durán for consultation. Additionally, president Juan Carlos Varela said he’ll implement more measures concerning Venezuela if the government continues to restrict Panama’s commercial rights: “We don’t want to be involved in a diplomatic escalation. We hope reason will prevail,” said Varela, adding that the Foreign Ministry is studying the measures that could be taken in the coming days and weeks, saying that they’re coherent with Panama’s foreign policy. Varela emphasized: “We won’t allow restrictions to our country’s rights, such as barring Panamanian companies from transporting passengers to Venezuela.”

What else happened?

To season the statement, Varela admitted that he understands the political attacks against him because chavismo is “a month away of elections that won’t be recognized by the international community, but I do think that suspending the flights doubtlessly affects the Venezuelan people the most,” demanding an end to measures against Venezuelans. The Lima Group expressed their support for Panama, while the U.S. government celebrated the measures taken by Panama regarding Venezuela for their “vigorous defense of democracy and human rights.” Additionally, a trio of lawmakers held a meeting with Panama’s vice-president Isabel De Saint Malo, to discuss the immigration and political crisis, as well as to request information about Venezuelan companies with records in Panama and of Panamanian companies with Venezuelan ties, and “the list of assets that are the product of money stolen from the country.”

A great loss


Journalist Alejandro Cañizales, a voice that accompanied Caraqueños for many years, killed himself yesterday. His unexpected death opened important conversations on social media, about depression, therapy and suicide, which are currently taboo, as Alejandro himself did so many times while on the air. They were discussed with personal or close experiences; to unblock the necessary study of how the crisis we’re living through affects us in ways that are hard to detect and to confess. Psychologist Cristal Palacios shared on Twitter a thread summarizing the key points about clinical depression, describing it as “an alteration of the brain’s biochemistry that causes physical and psychological symptoms (…) that requires professional attention and monitoring,” also saying that people take their own lives for various reasons. There’s research about suicide rates in Venezuela, but it’s crucial that we keep discussing about them. Cañizales’ voice and the quality of his work will be impossible to forget. May his decision keep opening bridges to discuss important matters.

SEBIN’s autonomy


The 31st court of control issued a released warrant for the directors of the Community Ambassadors Foundation, Gregory Hinds and Geraldine Chacón, who’ve been arbitrarily detained and isolated for two months. The Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN) must immediately release them, but as we’ve previously denounced, SEBIN operates as a sort of State within the State, an instance with an inexplicable autonomy that violates decisions from higher instances without consequences. And so, SEBIN officers refuse to receive the release warrant, in which judge Freddy Pérez Alvarado details that in view of the lack of a formal accusation against Chacón and Hinds, they’re released with precautionary measures: they must report to court every 15 days and are barred from leaving the country. Once again, the Prosecutor’s Office is an accomplice to another human rights violation by omission, but we’re supposed to celebrate the dismantling of a drug-trafficking network in Anzoátegui.


– The number of Venezuelans who have requested asylum in the European Union increased by almost 800% in the last two years, becoming the tenth nationality with the most requests during this period, as reported by the European Office of Asylum Support. According to the data presented by this institution, request for international protection for Venezuelans in the EU increased by 3,500% between 2014 and 2017 and Spain was by far the country with the most asylum requests from Venezuelans.

– Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva didn’t comply with the arrest warrant issued against him by judge Sergio Moro. Before turning himself in, he chose to hide in the offices of the Sao Paulo’s Union of Metallurgic Workers, with militants of the Workers Party acting as a praetorian guard, complicating the work of the Federal Police and strengthening the epic of his campaign. Yesterday, Lula da Silva’s defense submitted a precautionary measure before the UN Human Rights Committee, which includes a request for the Brazilian government to prevent Lula’s imprisonment until all judicial avenues are exhausted.

– Spain will pay attention to “the different stances” in the May 20 election and will base its actions on that analysis, said Spanish government spokesman Íñigo Méndez de Vigo this Friday, adding that they’ll be advancing “the common stance” in the EU.

– A Committee of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) approved the urgent discussion regarding the humanitarian crisis caused by the high levels Venezuelan immigration during the institution’s next meeting to be held in September. Spanish euro-lawmaker and EuroLat co-Speaker Ramón Jáuregui said: “the Venezuelan crisis isn’t just a democratic crisis, but a humanitarian crisis of the highest order. Almost four million Venezuelans have fled the country, I don’t know how Maduro can explain this.”

Japanese animation legend Isao Takahata died yesterday at 82 years old. Aside from wonderful films such as The Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Takahata directed unforgettable works such as the TV shows for Heidi and Marco.


Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.