venezuela-news-caracas-chronicles
Photo: Dep. Rafael Guzmán

Yesterday, the National Assembly’s Finance Committee presented their statistics: back in March, the inflation rate was 67%; the accumulated rate in the first quarter of the year is 453.7%, and between March 2017 and March 2018, the accumulated inflation is 8,878.1%.

Also, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal) reported Venezuela as the only Latin American nation with economic contraction (-8.5%), while the rest of the countries will report increases in their Gross Domestic Product.

Source: Cepal

However, the National Bureau for the Defense of Socio-Economic Rights (Sundde) is more concerned with the marking of the prices of products (a pointless measure in our circumstances) and BCV chairman Ramón Lobo talks of monetary reconversion without giving a single clue of how the government plans to stop inflation.

According to the IMF, our inflation could reach 13,000% this year, a conservative estimate for several Venezuelan economists, and they must be right considering yesterday’s figures, just as the black market dollar reached Bs. 600,000 in money desks.

At Puente Llaguno

It’s 16 years since the infamous April 11, when a peaceful march that turned to Miraflores to demand el finado’s resignation was met with gunfire. While Puente Llaguno henchmen were treated like heroes, even now, five metropolitan police who defended the citizens languish behind bars.

Perhaps it was the rain that mayor Erika Farías now also campaign chief in Caracas took for el finado’s presence; perhaps it was his delegation’s agenda in Peru, but Nicolás didn’t attend the swear-in ceremony of his campaign team in that bridge; he didn’t use the occasion nor the bridge.

In compensation, vice-president Tareck El Aissami announced that they’ll freeze the accounts of companies linked with Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela, in response to the retaliation announced by Panama’s government; he also spoke about the Broad Front of the Country, whose goal will be conquering the 10 million votes that Chávez never got even in his best moment.

Meanwhile, the Broad Front for a Free Venezuelan and student movements said that they’ll hold a National Youth Congress, where they’ll make proposals regarding the May 20 election.

Leocenis’ party

“Henri Falcón and Maduro, two faces of collectivism, have presented their slogans today. Nothing more. What’s the plan? They represent the same at heart. In Prociudadanos, we have a plan that limits the State and boosts individual initiatives,” wrote Leocenis García on February 27. It’s been a little more than a month of those words and the Prociudadanos movement not only has commercials on paid TV stations, but also National Assembly lawmakers, recycling Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT) militants, including one of its founders, Timoteo Zambrano, appointed general secretary of Prociudadanos yesterday.

UNT issued a statement saying that this measure will only weaken “the unitarian strategy that is vital for triumph” and it will strengthen “the stance of those who refuse change.”

Broken

Jesús Guacarán, physiotherapist of the national football team and one of the persons responsible for the success of the U-20 team, was murdered yesterday in Barquisimeto. A shot in the head after leaving a drugstore ended the life of another talented and honest young man.

Sadly, the message on the Vinotinto Twitter account decided to call this vile murder a mere “death”.

Barring the euphemisms, this is another unpunished crime that reminds us of our helplessness, as if the collapse of a failed State wasn’t a constant crime, as if we weren’t broken enough…

#ElPitazoResiste

Once more, users with Cantv-ABA services couldn’t enter the webpage of El Pitazo, a media outlet with reports from all the country’s regions. The blockade takes place “without notifying Conatel or the aforementioned provider companies of the measure in violation of the rights to freedom of expression and information enshrined in the Constitution. Therefore, we demand that access to our website be restored immediately,” reads a statement issued by the outlet yesterday. With the hashtag #ElPitazoResiste, many Venezuelans supported their cause.

The State’s censorship against the media continues, that’s why we must remind them that covering news isn’t a crime.

Abroad

  • Early in the morning, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would start an attack against Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria. He later backtracked and asked Russia to put an end to the weapons race. By the end of the day, the White House had to deny the imminence of an attack against Syria and stated that Trump has other options against Al Assad.
  • With all air travel suspended between Panama and Venezuela, the U.S. embassy announced that Venezuelans could use their country as an intermediate stop for international flights, with emergency transit visas. Here’s all the information about the process.
  • Venezuela sent the Spanish government an invitation to restore diplomatic relations, Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza announced. The Spanish statement says that the representatives if both countries “have recognized the convenience of normalizing bilateral dialogue considering the important existing ties.”
  • Regarding his meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini, minister Arreaza wrote that they reminded her of our independence, the rejection for the EU’s aggressions, but also urged her to keep respectful, cooperative relations. Arreaza restated that only the CNE must recognize the electoral results on May 20.
  • Pope Francis admitted severe mistakes for the sexual abuse scandal in Chile. He asked Chileans to forgive him for underestimating the crisis caused by these abuses and called the bishops for a fraternal meeting in the Vatican.
  • The Nicaraguan National Assembly expressed its support for Nicolás during the visit of Adán Chávez and minister Elías Jaua. Parliament Speaker Gustavo Porras offered the service of the National Assembly, while el finado’s brother demanded the American government to leave them alone.
  • Democrat senator Dick Durbin said after his visit to Caracas that he found “a country at the edge of precipice.” Durbin requested the Venezuelan government an election without political prisoners, open to all candidates, with at least six months of campaign, with a credible CNE, without any method of coercion with CLAP bags and with observers for the entire process. He also asked Nicolás to release Josh Holt.
  • The former heads of State who are members of the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA) urged the rulers who will take part in the Summit of the Americas to disregard the elections convened in Venezuela and Cuba due to their lack of autonomy and freedom.

A stolen game in the Bernabéu? Real Madrid disqualified Juventus with a penalty scored by Cristiano Ronaldo on minute 97. There are countless videos of the play that made the referee raise the red card that inspired the anger of Gianluigi Buffon, expelling him from his last game in the Champions League. Buffon, a memorable goal keeper!

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