Deaths in Socialism

Your daily briefing for Monday, June 11, 2018. Translated by Nina Rancel.

Photo: Noticiero 52

It’s a sad story: 11 children died in the Barquisimeto Pediatrics University Hospital because of the Serratia Marcescens bacteria. The last outbreak had been in 1990 until it reappeared in September 2016. This Saturday the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) confirmed poliomielitis in Venezuela, a disease that had also been eradicated. The PAHO states in a communique that the Ministry of Health was aware of the outbreak since April and withheld the information, sans notifying this finding to the World Health Organization (WHO) as established on the WHO International Health Regulations. So far, polio affects the population in Delta Amacuro, with three cases, and in all of them, the children’s vaccination schedules are incomplete.

In addition, the PAHO claims that Venezuela registers 85% of the measles cases reported in the continent so far this year, reporting an outbreak in 17 states and the Capital District, 35 deaths, 33 of them in Delta Amacuro, a state that also registers recurring cases of children and teenagers with malnutrition, diphtheria, malaria, tuberculosis, parasitic diseases and HIV. It is worth reviewing the progress made in public health matters as was presented by the Vice Minister of Health, Indhriana Parada, in the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva celebrated a couple of weeks ago. It’s not cynicism, it’s indolence.

Punitive Laws

While the Catholic church demands for the presidential elections to be held again, with elements that guarantee fairness, sans political prisoners, exiled leaders or opposition members barred from running for public office, the president of Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Maikel Moreno, informed that they’d ask the ANC for a reform on criminal laws to adapt them and sanction “anyone who attacks the country” since “there’s behavior from many political leaders that must be framed as terrorism and treason,” meaning that the norm must adapt to the chavista imagination, so tomorrow the TSJ could order amendments to sanction journalists, bus drivers or citizens that protest against the crisis. Moreno said that 80 citizens had been released from jail by petition of the ANC’s Truth Committee, that the list was “pretty long” and that the TSJ was evaluating the damage caused by each case, one by one, to decide if they were deserving of procedural measures since “the Judicial branch can’t create impunity”.

Too bad they didn’t ask him about people like Raúl Isaías Baduel, who has been isolated for 18 weeks. His family demands a proof of life, as well as the rest of the families of political prisoners demand that they continue to release those who are still behind bars.

Brief and serious

  • Venezuela was ranked the most dangerous country in the world for the second year in a row according to a Gallup survey, below countries like Afghanistan or South Sudan, in terms of safety perception. Our homicide rate is still the highest, being the most painful evidence of a failed, negligent State.
  • carries on its investigation about the Odebrecht scandal. This time, they reveal the story of former minister Haiman El Troudi and how the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office found his wife’s and his mother-in-law’s bank accounts, with over 40 million dollars that came from offshore companies’ accounts that have been linked to Odebrecht.
  • “Oil production in Venezuela is basically falling at a 10% average rate per quarter and has been dropping from mid-2017,” says Forbes, warning about how the temporary interruption of PDVSA exports can be permanent since “they’ll be close to zero by the end of the year”.
  • It’s said that one formula that PDVSA could use to reactivate production in inactive light oil fields are service contracts with third parties, so private oil companies can extract these fields that would yield, at best, some 600 thousand bpd. Some sources caution that this won’t be easy or quick, despite the enormous decapitalization of the company and the country.
  • The CORPOELEC Union called its workers to hold a national strike this Monday, June 11, demanding better wages since the dialogue roundtable with Minister Luis Motta Domínguez didn’t yield the results they expected.

Goodbye, Florido?

According to a statement by Voluntad Popular (VP), deputy Luis Florido has been let go from his position as president of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the National Assembly and will be replaced by Francisco Sucre, a decision that is not theirs to make. Even though the opposition agreed on power quotas within the National Assembly structure, there’s still a set of rules, a Reglamento de Interior y Debates.

This whole thing with Florido started when delegates that would represent the interests of the diaspora were appointed, including several localities where the diaspora has been well established and organized for a while, so imposing these measures was fiercely rejected with an aggressive smear campaign.

The allegations –non institutional– about irregular use of the funds provided by international organizations to work with the diaspora, need to be substantiated. For now, there’s only records of donations to Brazil and Colombia, not the Parliament. Florido dismissed the allegations and said the sole purpose of the delegates was to serve as links to the Parliament in finding solutions to Venezuelans problems. Opacity is truly expensive. Vale para el acusado, vale para los acusadores.


  • G7 expressed “deep concern for how human rights and basic democratic principles are being violated in Venezuela, as well as for the out-of-control economic crisis and its humanitarian repercussions”.
  • Jorge Arreaza said to news site La Tercera that Chilean President Sebastián Piñera was the one who cut the existing ties between both countries. He questioned Chancellor Ampuero’s criteria because it’s incoherent to accuse a government of being a dictatorship and of mistreating its people, while they have problems in their country too, depositing in this brilliant idea the golden principle of non-intervention in other States’ internal affairs.
  • “The drug trafficking empire served at the mercy of Hugo Chávez“ is the title of journalist Frank López Ballesteros’ work about a taboo topic that has proved to be costly for journalists and media outlets. The testimonies of drug traffickers extradited by chavismo, summarize the astonishment of these men for going from having every comfort to move their operations to Venezuela, to the fact that they had their “allies” wanting to keep their businesses.
  • The testimonies from Masaya, Nicaragua about official repression are impressive. Daniel Ortega keeps being violent against his citizens while he “reflects” on the possibility of restarting the dialogue process.
  • Former president of the Constitutional Tribunal of Spain, María Emilia Casas, Dominican justice Manuel Herrera Carbuccia and Uruguayan jurist Santiago Pérez del Castillo will be the members of the committee created by the International Labor Organization to investigate the accusations against the Venezuelan government for violating working rights.

We go on.

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.