“I just need you to avoid clashing with the guards, we’re going to protest there,” says in a video a National Guard official who protects Miraflores Palace, where several citizens went to protest this Thursday with casseroles and buckets due to the severe water rationing they’ve been suffering. “We don’t want cistern trucks here, we want running water,” says one of the protesters standing on a low wall and she was joined by other vices who repeated “Running water! Running water!”.
— Rubén C (@rubencarrito) April 27, 2018
Almost simultaneously, Nicolás, always in touch with the needs of the people, tweeted his experience while watching flamenco videos on YouTube.
Gracias al talento de estos artistas españoles, quienes encarnan en el baile flamenco el espíritu de nuestro libertador Simón Bolívar ¡Viva el arte revolucionario! #JuntosTodoEsPosible https://t.co/B7G1hNIYxZ
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) April 27, 2018
The protest ended when authorities promised to send cistern trucks to the Altagracia area, but we’re all aware in Venezuela of the quality of the water in those trucks: with luck, it’s good for flushing down toilettes. As usual, the GN arrested a journalist who was covering the protest. She’s already been released.
Nicolás went to the Poliedro de Caracas for the opening of the Expo Venezuela Potencia 2018: without electric power, water, food, medicines, garbage collection, public transport, cash, institutions or the rule of law; without branch autonomy or democracy: a true power! He announced that they’ve reached three agreements with Panama: “both countries will reinstate their respective ambassadors, airlines will restore operations and we’ll meet to discuss other issues.” He denied any electoral opportunism claiming: “We have 19 years here,” adding that if elections were held today, he’d win with more than 60% of votes. The protest at Miraflores is undeniable proof. He also said that with the first presale of the Petro, they managed to sell $3,3 billion, a bit more than the donation granted by the European Union to assist Venezuelan refugees established in Brazil. He ordered Finance Minister Simón Zerpa to create a plan to support Venezuelans who have returned “penniless” after failing in their migration plans. Nicolás decided to give the Central Bank a billion dollars “to increase international reserves, and immediately strengthen Dicom,” which recently auctioned less than $400,000. Another portion will be destined to import food, medicines and industrial supplies.
Communications minister and Nicolás’ campaign chief Jorge Rodríguez demanded the National Electoral Council (CNE) this Thursday to call the heads of the country’s media outlets to review “their compliance to electoral regulations,” as if his candidate had respected the agreement of guarantees, the Framework Law on Electoral Processes or the Constitution. It was serious to see him blithely acknowledge that it was his party who ordered regional chavista authorities to “allow” the campaign activities of other candidates, how generous! Amazingly, his statements were reported as if he truly were saying anything of note.
Believe it or not
The Venezuelan government claimed that the oil company ConocoPhillips received a tough lesson after the ruling issued by the International Court of Arbitration, ordering PDVSA to pay close to 10% of the original claim filed by the American company. The entire statement is a study on arrogance and denial of reality. And it’ll be us who’ll pay the consequences. Well, but there’s a sector that’s pleased with the government’s performance and so chavistas announced that on May 1, they’ll commemorate Labor Day and celebrate the imposition of the ANC’s election, so they won’t take to the streets to demand vindications but instead to defend sovereignty, because the working class “feels hopeful” with Nicolás’ Plan de la Patria 2025 and because Venezuela “is on its way to progress.” Aren’t they cute? Aside from all this chavista beauty, Hugo Ocando, head of the Association of Drivers of Western Caracas, reported that starting on May, the buses in some states of the country will start charging Bs. 5,000, emphasizing that this raise is still insufficient to catch up with inflation. In response, the Committee of Public Transport Users will demand the intervention by the Ombudsman’s Office to block this raise. The Ombudsman’s Office won’t protect the users, it will only hurt bus drivers, intensifying our already complex public transport deficit. The central argument of bus drivers is undeniable: amidst hyperinflation, there’s no way to keep a low fare without the government’s direct subsidies, from this government, the most ineffective and corrupt in our entire history.
- EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini said, after meeting with the Venezuelan opposition delegation, that she’ll work so that Venezuela has “a clear, credible electoral process, agreed upon with the democratic opposition,” restating that they won’t send an observation mission for May 20, since they believe there are no conditions for a legitimate process.
.@FedericaMog reiteró que no estarán en Venezuela el 20 de mayo porque no hay condiciones para hacer un acompañamiento legítimo. Insistió en que deben haber elecciones claras, creíbles y acordadas con la oposición venezolana. pic.twitter.com/DbkTUv7r42
— Julio Borges (@JulioBorges) April 26, 2018
- The Union of Latin American Parties agreed in Brazil to disregard the elections in Venezuela until “there’s a free process.”
- Judge Fernando Andreu ordered the release of Claudia Díaz and Adrián Velásquez while authorities receive formal requests of extradition from the Venezuelan government.
- Argentine President Mauricio Macri, along with his Chilean counterpart Sebastián Piñera, stated his desire that “the current Venezuelan situation comes to an end” and a democratic government is restored with transparent elections.
— Gabriel Bastidas (@Gbastidas) April 26, 2018
- The U.S. Embassy in Venezuela said that the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry’s recent call was a “ruse”, saying that they prefer diplomacy and mentioning priority issues in their agenda such as the release of Joshua Holt; administrative and consular issues; and the strengthening of democracy and the promotion of prosperity.
La Embajada fue llamada hoy a la Cancillería. En vez del teatro, hubiésemos preferido diplomacia ¿Liberación de Joshua Holt? ¿Resolver problemas administrativos y consulares pendientes en el mejor interés de ambos países? ¿Fortalecer la democracia y promover prosperidad? (1/2)
— US Embassy, VE (@usembassyve) April 26, 2018
In order to contextualize this message, they attached the document issued by the G7 summarizing the concerns about Venezuelan and the recommendations to the national government.
- Creditors who hold guaranteed PDVSA bonds are organizing before the interest payment coming due today: it’s $107 million with a 30-day grace period that, once expired, would give them the right to start proceedings to demand compliance with their guarantee rights. The bonds are backed by a lien on the 50.1% participation in Citgo. Remember that the other 49.9% of Citgo is promised to the Russian State-owned oil company Rosneft as guarantee for a $1.5 billion loan.
- Miguel Barreto, regional director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), announced that the agency has started a plan to assist 350,000 Venezuelans out of the 660,000 who have arrived in Colombia and thus relieve humanitarian crisis unleashed in the border region.
- The Brazilian government announced that they will capitalize one of its guarantee funds to be able to cover the debts of a Brazilian public bank for nearly 1.5 billion reales ($441.2 million) that were left unpaid by Venezuela and Mozambique, since Brazil as a guarantor for Venezuela in the agreement.
- The OAS convened a Permanent Council meeting for next Monday to discuss in a extraordinary session the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and its impact on the region’s countries. The meeting was requested by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, according to a document obtained by press agency EFE.
There’s a new outbreak of influenza AH1N1 in Caracas. It made the news due to the sensible death of a 9-year-old and his dad’s reaction after learning of his passing in the J.M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital, which lacked the supplies to tend to his illness. The current sanitary conditions will make it even harder to control the outbreak, since the anti-influenza vaccine for the AH1N1 virus hasn’t been supplied by the Health Ministry since 2015. Epidemiologists caution that the law vaccination coverage will, in the next few months, cause an epidemic such as as the one we saw in 2009.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.