Corrupt and Incompetent

For Thursday, June 7, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: El Nacional

Early this Wednesday, Madrid police arrested José Roberto Rincón Bravo, son of the corrupt Roberto Rincón Fernández, in an anti-money laundering operation focused on PDVSA funds. Hours later, PDVSA’s chairman admitted the lack of investment on the Orinoco Oil Strip’s improvers, as well as in other areas, attributing all the responsibility for this collapse to “vices” and “mafias” that used to manage the company. Quevedo claimed that they want to make a greater investment to recover production, without offering details of the amounts they want to invest or their origin; he merely said that Nicolás approved resources to start maintenance works on the Petro San Félix improver, which has a capacity to produce 160,000 oil barrels per day. “We’ve identified almost 9,500 wells both in the Strip and the country’s eastern region, that should give us 700,000 oil barrels per day, now this work must be done in a structured way with the effort, with the capacity, with the investment,” Quevedo explained; best not to think about how the work had been done thus far so that he has to make such distinctions. Quevedo didn’t say a word about PDVSA’s inability to honor its payment or distribution commitments.

Strange victory

For Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, three votes out of the 36 of the Organization of American States, is a victory for chavismo. He also said that the 19 nations that voted in favor of the resolution about Venezuela “aren’t countries that stand with their people, they’re corporate elites,” adding that the United States government doesn’t rule the OAS (that’s why each State is sovereign,) and later claimed that they wish “to open a space” with Donald Trump’s administration in order to talk in equal conditions and mutual respect. Meanwhile, Minister Jorge Rodríguez claimed that Almagro is wrong when he says that Venezuela can’t withdraw from the OAS without the National Assembly’s backing, because in his view, the president has that capacity. But in articles 23 and 31 of the 1999 Constitution, international agreements and treaties are part of the guarantees of protection for the human rights of Venezuelans; these rights were attained and renouncing them is massively undermining the rights of Venezuelans, which is still illegal, even if this government is used to do so. Chavismo hates the progressive realization of rights… well, they hate rights and progress, institutions and democratic diversity, they hate anything they can’t control.

Brief and serious

  • Venezuelan authorities released two executives of the American oil company Chevron, arrested in April for refusing to sign a contract with PDVSA. Both were granted a measure in substitution of freedom, the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t offer more details.
  • Lawyer Omar Mora Tosta said that there are still 409 political prisoners, emphasizing that failing to comply with the release warrants issued for many of them: “is a clear human rights violation.” Meanwhile, SEBIN suspended visits to El Helicoide on May 17.
  • NGO Espacio Público launched the campaign #QueAparezcaPedro, for Twitter user Pedro Jaimes (@AeroMeteo), who was arbitrarily arrested on May 10 for publishing the route of the presidential plane. As long as his location remains unknown, his status is “missing”. The NGO insists that there’s no law in Venezuela that restricts the aeronautical information available online.

  • Former mayor Antonio Ledezma denied the statements made by Euzenando Azevedo, Odebrecht’s superintendent director in Venezuela. He said that he never contracted this company’s services during his administration and that he’ll contact his lawyers so that Azevedo “clears his name.”
  • According to journalist Ewald Scharfenberg, there’s been a misleading discussion about Azevedo’s statements regarding financial contributions to opposition political campaigns: “the fact that a candidate receives private contributions is a right and not a crime,” Scherfenberg says, adding that chavismo turned it into a crime because it took over the State’s resources, a part of the ongoing electoral fraud. He urged that the discussion should be focused on how to regulate contributions for electoral campaigns.

Abroad

  • Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero sees “a small change” in some of chavismo’s traditional allies who feel uncomfortable backing Nicolás due to “his constant denial of reality, of the economic and migration crisis.” He emphasized that “the solution must come peacefully from Venezuelan citizens themselves.”
  • The World Bank is ready to help Venezuela when there’s an opportunity and to offer it all possible resources, said Carlos Végh, chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean. Regarding our crisis, he said that “its magnitude hasn’t been seen in the region for decades.”
  • The International Monetary Fund issued a statement because Venezuela hasn’t supplied key macroeconomic data nor implemented the corrective measures suggested in 2017. The IMF urged the government to adopt corrective measures and release the data, an essential step for designing recovery plans.
  • President Lenín Moreno appointed Álex Solano Moreno as Ecuadorian ambassador to Venezuela. He comes from working as ambassador in Cuba and from there, he supported the ANC’s election. So the abstention at the OAS is more understandable now.
  • Starting on June 11, Brazil’s government will start a census to determine how many Venezuelans have entered its territory, either as passage or residence.
  • Dictator Daniel Ortega announced last night that he’ll meet today with catholic church bishops to establish when talks will be resumed. He said nothing regarding the amount of people murdered, the assaults of his paramilitary groups or the persecution against dissidents.
  • For three days, Movistar Venezuela made free text messages available to their customers so that they can get in touch with their families and friends in Guatemala.

Wanna laugh a bit? Check the timeline of journalist Elizabeth Fuentes (@fuenteseliz) and read the discussion she had with professor Fernando Mires over the love letter Fuentes sent to Foreign Minister Ampuero. I worked out my abs laughing for a woman’s sense of humor before the “scholar’s” coarseness, a man who was also the fiercest fanatic of Henri Falcón’s failed candidacy who, among other revelations, claimed: “Those who fall in love with politicians, actors or any other unreachable figure, it’s because something isn’t working well in their beds.”

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