The imposed prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, announced that they’re investigating PDVSA’s embezzlement with overpriced sales in food and electrical supply imports. The people of El Pitazo said that back in August 2016: they published an investigation about this satellite PDVSA office Saab just recently discovered. Created in 2009 for international purchases, in a 4-year period they made contracts by tampering with the SAP system to incorporate new providers. The purchases were made from Venezuela by simulating that they were being executed from the Netherlands and at least 32 companies took part in the process, including four that belong to Roberto Rincón and Abraham Shiera, prosecuted in the U.S. for paying bribes to obtain contracts. The Prosecutor’s Office will request their extradition and the capital damage they caused is estimated at US$ 1,1 billion.

If he wants the speed of his investigative process to improve, perhaps Saab could read El País’ article about how PDVSA looters continued their money-laundering operations even after a cause was opened against them, so that Chinese companies graced with PDVSA’s awards would pay their commissions in Panama, with the help of a high executive of the Banca Privada d’Andorra, Pablo Laplana, who offered this possibility to Diego Salazar, Nervis Villalobos and Javier Alvarado, among others.

New fees, worse contraction

According to a report released yesterday in Lima, the IMF predicts that Venezuela’s financial setback in 2019 will be 15%, after “a cumulative contraction of 35% between 2014 and 2017,” adding that the humanitarian crisis is intensifying with growing shortages of basic products, the collapse of the health system and high crime rates.

Besides, the Central Bank of Venezuela published the fees that banking institutions may charge for their operations, as follows:

  • Monthly account maintenance: Bs. 500
  • Use of same-bank ATMs: Bs. 3,600.
  • Rejected operations (insufficient funds, wrong password, etc.): Bs. 6,500
  • Withdrawal operations will have a 5% charge on the amount withdrawn
  • Requests for new debit cards: Bs. 12,700
  • New check books: 25 checks (Bs. 62,200) and 50 checks (Bs. 125,000)
  • Returned checks: Bs. 202,900 for natural persons and Bs. 405,800 for legal persons
  • Inter-bank transfers: Bs. 6,500. Same-bank transfers: Bs. 2,500

By the way, next Monday, May 14, will be a non banking day!

The disaster

While Metro de Caracas considers a fare price increase after keeping the turnstiles open for two weeks, Bloomberg reported yesterday that ConocoPhillips took over PDVSA’s assets in Bonaire and submitted judicial warrants to do the same in Curacao and Aruba, an acquisition that limits PDVSA’s capacity to export oil to the U.S., China and India. “This is a complete disaster,” said professor Francisco Monaldi, adding that “Conoco’s situation, such as it is, with PDVSA incapable of using storage tanks in the Caribbean, is worse than existing U.S. sanctions.” PDVSA is redirecting shipments to its poorly-equipped ports in Venezuela, which causes a bottleneck for ships in the main maritime terminals. The company now has limited loading capacity. In any case, PDVSA has already notified its clients that all of its oil exports will be in FOB shipments (“Free on Board”: buyers are responsible of all tariffs and insurance associated with the transport of crude from the terminal to the final destination) as a legal safeguard against possible confiscations by ConocoPhillips and other companies pursuing debt-related actions. Jose and Guaraguao terminals in Anzoátegui are expected to handle 75% of crude exports starting this week.

Who’s crazy?

Using State resources, Nicolás increased the pace of his campaign and yesterday, he visited Portuguesa, Trujillo and Sucre states, with limited events in each one of them, speaking not as the man responsible for this crisis, but as an emerging candidate. That’s why he mentioned the urgency of making big economic changes and claimed that “Voting for me is voting for freedom, peace and sovereignty,” while he approved funds for failed projects, promised a better (and more frequent) distribution of CLAP boxes and the building of more housing units to be allocated through the carnet de la patria. “Imperialism is crazy, crazy, deranged imperialism,” he said sarcastically in Trujillo and added “Go away, bloody Imperialism!”

But the effort of using public resources for the campaign also includes vice-president El Aissami handing over housing units in Margarita, and Defense minister Vladimir Padrino López, showing soldiers carrying CLAP boxes which they’ll distribute before elections.

A video of a PoliCaracas officers shooting a dog during a protest in La Guairita went viral. According to Jenny Oropeza, the officer is Franklin Carrera, chief bodyguard for mayor Jorge Rodríguez. When he shot the dog, there was a baby nearby. The dog is stable even though he punctured his lung. The head of CICPC announced that he’ll investigate the officer.

Abroad

  • With native communities leading the list of the most vulnerable groups in Venezuela (with epidemics, hunger, etc.), the government disseminated the repatriation of a stone as an achievement. More evil than cynicism. At Cepal, Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza claimed that the government protects the people through its social policies.
  • Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said in Budapest: “With regime change, which will happen and will happen very soon, the Venezuelan economy, with a bit of good government, will quickly rise again and the opportunities for Colombia are enormous.”
  • Carlos Trujillo, U.S. ambassador before the OAS, said that they’re committed “to make everything in their hands” so that Venezuela recovers its democracy and called for more aggressive sanctions against the government. In here, the U.S. Embassy issued an alert for possible protests before and after May 20.
  • A demobilized ELN trooper testified in the trial of a member of that guerrilla’s national direction and confirmed ELN presence in Apure. Two days ago, lawmaker Américo de Grazia denounced that the ELN was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of a group of miners in Bolívar.
  • The attack on two universities in Managua early in the morning yesterday, with a total of three deaths and at least 10 people wounded, increased tensions in Nicaragua. The UN Human Rights Office and the IACHR called for the government to allow access to their representatives to assess the evidence about the death of thousands of citizens in the protests.
  • In the IACHR hearings, civil society representatives denounced human rights violations committed by Venezuelan soldiers, a practice used “as a tool of repression and political persecution,” with over 7,000 people accused of military crimes in 2017. The IACHR pointed out that civilians can’t be tried by military tribunals during peacetime.
  • The IACHR urged the Venezuelan government to respect all of people’s positions and rights during the May 20 process.

The maestro Rafael Cadenas was awarded the Reina Sofía prize for Ibero American Poetry, the genre’s most prestigious ward in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries. The maestro usually attends most literary events in this city, with a calm step, and reacts to readings and flattery with almost childish gestures. The people of Autores Venezolanos and the Team Poetero created the National Contest of Young Poetry in his name three years ago. The 88-year old maestro gives us another huge smile to conclude the week. There are civilian heroes, legacies that only need to be printed and read. ¡Grande, Cadenas!

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Naky, you forgot to mention Freddy Bernal executed a matadero. Looks like he decided that it would be over his dead body that they expropriate his property so they obliged him. Beyond words. …

  2. Jose and Guaraguao terminals in Anzoátegui are expected to handle 75% of crude exports starting this week.
    ———-

    Does anyone know what condition these puertos are in? Their capacity? I read somewhere that Puerto Jose has trouble loading up supertankers, and that both ports are in bad shape. In practical terms, what is the fallout? Also, one of the facilities in Bonaire or Curacao apparently mixed down the Venezuela gunk before shipping, and where is that happening now? Obviously I have no idea per the fine points of what is happening in the Ven petro world, but this sounds like a big deal, like lopping off a leg of the Chavista cash cow. Maybe Sr. Blass can chime in. I had a relative working in the Ven. oil industry but they bolted for Argentina last month to work on a big project without the chaos and chicanery.

  3. The volume of ships to be handled at jose includes not only those directly transporting venezuelan cargoes abroad but additionally those bringing in light crudes diluents to blend with venezuelan heavy crude , this increased traffick will have to handle very large volumes which formerly were handled in St Eustatia , Curacao and specially Bopec in Bonaire which will inevitably lead to delays and congestion at Jose and other nearby terminals……, these delays of course also can cost a lot of money for vessels awaiting to be unloaded or loaded charge a surcharge for every hour of waiting…….the average size of the vessels which can be handled at jose are also smaller than those which can be handled in Eustatia and Bopec , and since the smaller the size of the vessels the bigger the freight , this will involve higher freight costs for any cargoes transported from/to Jose to destinations abroad , just think of the cost of transporting a shipment to far off China or India …..!! Pdvsa will spend more money tackling this situation than what they would spend simply paying Conoco its compensation . but of course they would lose face if they do that and revolutinary dignity will not allow them to do that…!!

  4. Fuck.

    Stop posting pics of that freaky face!!! Saab’s mugshot is causing children to have nightmares about evil mimes sneaking into their bedroom and kidnapping them in the middle of the night.

  5. Thanks, Bill, for the clarification. The crazy part, as you mentioned, is that rather than paying down legitimate debt, the Chavistas will spend fortunes to try and dodge payment, believing as only fools can, that they can job Conoco out of the money owed, or bond holders, or airlines, or any of the others owed billions from these gaffos. Gonna get interesting if acceleration begins per those bond debts. They’ll be sharks in the water if that comes down, and I don’t like Maduro’s chances.

  6. “…this increased traffick will have to handle very large volumes which formerly were handled in St Eustatia , Curacao and specially Bopec in Bonaire which will inevitably lead to delays and congestion at Jose and other nearby terminals…”

    How did Vz oil get to St. Eustatia, Curacao, and Bonaire? By ship? From Jose and other Vz terminals?

  7. Davy , good question and Im not sure of the answer , Curacao and Bonaire are really very close to venezuelan terminals so maybe they are blended only enought to get them there and then the full blend is completed in these offshore terminals , remember many of these shipment are headed to China and India and some blends decompose the greater the distance they have to travel ………..In the old days they would be mixed at the point of extraction with diesel , pumped to jose where the diesel would be recovered and sent back to the fields to be reused again and again with very little in transit losses . The media says that already some diesel which Borco was selling to the Boanire power station was being paid directly to Conoco not to Pdvsa implying that maybe there is some diesel being used to transport the crude to Bonaire and then recoverd to be sold at least in part to the power station……. Also sometimes you can prevent heavy crudes from turning solid by increasing the temperature from the vessels heating coils to very high temperatures , problem is that this means burning a lot of fuel which is very expensive , specially where the trip is long ……, for example heavy asphalt is heated to 45 degrees while ordinary crude is heated to 35 degrees…….this is just my guess , remember a case a long time ago where the vessel master was carrying some heavy crude and wanted to save on the fuel so he allowed the temperature to drop to where the whole cargo on arrival had become totally solid and had to be physically dug out of the vessels tanks

  8. In some charter parties there are exclusions from certain cargo liabilities where the vessel must sail in very cold northern waters where if the oil is heavy there is a risk of its becoming umpumpable !!

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