The Quevedo effect

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Reuters

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-member countries led by Russia, declared in this Monday’s report their agreement with the terms to adjust production through the Declaration of Cooperation that has boosted oil prices to $78 per barrel, the highest price since 2014. Prices has also been boosted by the Venezuela’s plummeting output and the United States’ decision to pull out from their nuclear agreement with Iran. This report includes, according to secondary sources, that our output dropped in April by 1.4 million barrels per day -much more than was revealed by official sources, representing the greatest monthly setback among the 14 members of the agreement, over 31% compared to August 2017 and almost 49% compared to 2015.

Our gold reserves also sank: a drop of 11.95 tons to reach 150.2 tons of that metal by January 2018, according to data released by the International Monetary Fund; but don’t worry, Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a little-known bank in Moscow, whose largest shareholders are the Venezuelan government and two Russian State-run companies, opened the possibility to investors who want to buy petros.

Bigger bribes

Odebrecht finished only nine of the 33 works it started in Venezuela, according to a report of Transparency International’s Venezuelan chapter, which also reveals that the Venezuelan government’s contracts with the construction company surpassed $29.9 billion. During their review of official documents, they could only establish the amounts “20 out of 40 contracts” signed between the company and various Venezuelan ministries. “The figure is astonishing: almost $30 billions,” says the report, since the amounts for the contracts kept increasing throughout the years. Odebrecht usually paid bribes of between 3% and 5% commission over the contracts’ amount, so the estimate for these bribes surpasses the $1.3 billion, far above the $98 million declared by former Odebrecht employees before the New York Court in 2015. Unlike other nations, the Venezuelan Comptroller’s Office hasn’t published any of this, nor did it open any investigations or requested them to the Prosecutor’s Office. “The Prosecutor’s Office headed by Tarek William Saab (…) remains silent about Odebrecht,” the report says.

Let’s talk human rights

Another patient of the J.M. De los Ríos Children’s Hospital died due to lack of medicines and supplies, showing the consequences of ignoring the precautionary measures issued by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.

Two transplant patients also died over the weekend, according to Codevida; they were living a second life, but socialism took it away from them. NGO Espacio Público denounced that the person in charge of the Twitter account @AeroMateo, Petro Patricio Criollo, was arrested by SEBIN merely for publishing the presidential plane’s route during an official flight within the country.

Lastly, it was terrifying to hear the report made by lawyer Theresly Malavé about the severe conditions in which lawmaker and political prisoner Gilber Caro is held, subjected to cruel treatments and torture.

Caro has amoebiasis, he’s lost eight kilos, he’s been isolated for 71 days —with rationed (contaminated) food and water— and he was even denied his books for refusing to sing “revolutionary” songs.

Those who do, those who don’t

The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference restated its demand for the government to suspend May 20 elections, which will be held “without enough guarantees defining every free, credible, transparent electoral process.”

The Lima Group issued a “last call” for the government to suspend the elections and deemed the process as “illegitimate and lacking credibility.”

Meanwhile, National Electoral Council (CNE) chairwoman Tibisay Lucena called all political parties to submit all the data for the credentials of electoral witnesses, because compared to other processes, they currently have “very low statistics.” She spoke of the electoral accompaniment -not observation-, claiming that will come “every corner in the world.” Proving the independence of powers, TSJ chief justice Maikel Moreno released pictures of his visit to the Russian TSJ and of his invitation for them to come next Sunday to verify PSUV’s “democratic disposition.”

Passion fruit fragrance

After throwing cookies in Maracay, after feeling on his body “the lash felt by Christ” in La Fría, people threw Nicolás (among other things) a passion fruit in Barquisimeto, where he opened a railway scheduled for 2004. He restated that voting with the carnet de la patria will bring rewards, as well as the absurdity of giving his life to protect those whose lives he’s destroyed. He also congratulated minister Freddy Bernal for his work in Táchira, without demanding an investigation for the murder of cattle farmer Manuel Tarazona. “Even if Falcón is elected, we’ll disregard presidential elections,” said the representatives of the UCV’s Federation of Student Centers, who urged people not to participate on May 20.

Candidate Henri Falcón demanded that CNE scrap red stations, accusing Nicolás of buying votes with bonuses and claiming that he submitted 98% of his electoral witness team despite Tibisay Lucena’s statements. He also claimed that the issues of Venezuelans will be solved by Venezuelans, stepping away from the U.S. and the Lima Group, while saying that Henrique Capriles will be in his cabinet even if he doesn’t support him. Seeking favor through another man’s fame, he did the same with Pedro Nikken a few days ago.


  • “Great day for Israel. Congratulations,” wrote president Donald Trump because the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem, violating international agreements, an event that left over 50 Palestinians dead and 2,000 wounded in protests in the Gaza Strip. Palestine denounced Israel’s actions before the UN and demanded the Security Council to protect civilians.
  • The ELN will cease military operations during the Colombian elections. Meanwhile, the activity of chavista paramilitaries will probably increase.
  • Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said that the Venezuelan government “is crumbling” and that’s why they won’t last long, insisting that Colombia has the greatest interest in Venezuela overcoming this crisis.
  • Colombian former presidents Álvaro Uribe Vélez and Andrés Pastrana met in the Simón Bolívar international bridge with María Corina Machada to coordinate efforts against the regime. They signed a joint statement asking to join efforts along with the international community to lend support to Venezuelans fleeing the country.

  • Yesterday, an Argentine judge prosecuted former president Cristina Fernández and her children, Máximo and Florencia Kirchner, for alleged money laundering and criminal association through the family company Hotesur.
  • The concrete action announced by the Lima Group was proposed by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, announcing that her nation will grant a fund of $5.3 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans.
  • The Nicaraguan government authorized the IACHR to carry out a work visit to assess the human rights situation, one of the four conditions set by the Catholic Church to support a dialogue set to start this Wednesday, May 16, according to an announcement by the Episcopal Conference, despite the National Police assault in Sébaco and the other three conditions that weren’t fulfilled.

The death of Gustavo Márquez, bass player for C4 Trío, was tremendously sad, but it inspired beautiful messages: musicians, singers, composers, citizens, many people talking of the value of music and the talent of this man who left too early.

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.