PDVSA Keeps Failing

For Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: PDVSA

PDVSA production keeps plummeting and closed May at 1,392,000 barrels per day, 2.7% less than the previous month, as reported by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with a gap between the figures presented by the Venezuelan government and OPEC’s secondary sources, because the Oil Ministry says that output increased to 1,533,000 bpd, while the secondary sources put it 141 barrels below that. PDVSA has stopped producing 1,262,000 barrels per day since 2015 until May 2018 and among OPEC’s member countries, it’s the nation with the lowest production despite having the world’s largest reserves: we’re OPEC’s eighth producer. Alejandro Grisanti, head of Ecoanalítica, estimates that the State will cease perceiving $29.8 billion (according to OPEC’s secondary sources) or $33.6 billion (official data) in 2018 if the output, already at its lowest level in three decades, keeps declining. Meanwhile, Grupo Zoom published the exchange rate for purchasing remittances: Bs. 1,303,270 per dollar, about half the black market rate, but much higher than the artificial DICOM rate. Of course, remember it’s unidirectional, you can sell dollars at that rate, but nobody will sell them to you with it. And PSUV’s economists? They’re proposing the urgency of more controls and civilian-military commands to overcome the crisis. Geniuses!

Amazing chavismo

The National Electoral Board proposed the National Electoral Council (CNE) holding municipal council elections in December this year.

CNE authority Tania D’Amelio said on Twitter that they’ll study the proposal’s validity, but last night, during his speech in the National Assembly of the PSUV Youth, Nicolás announced that the CNE will convene those elections and that they will establish an electoral regulation for PSUV establishing that at least 50% of candidates must be under 35 years old; promising to ask the CNE to call on international bodies to participate as observers in December. Another clear example of how branch autonomy works in Venezuela. Education Minister Elías Jaua said that students aren’t dropping out of school in the country, they’re only finding it hard to go to school due to transport issues. Naturally, if he denied the mass student dropout rate, he did the same with teacher resignations which he said are “within the regular resignation average.” Lastly, Diosdado Cabello claimed that his daughter Daniella wasn’t deported by the United States as reported by El Nuevo Herald, an argument which he probably expanded in his VTV show.

And in the National Assembly

The Parliament restated its support for the OAS’ disregard for the May 20 electoral process, ratifying it as a farce and thanking the international community for their backing. Lawmaker Francisco Sucre, who’ll replace Luis Florido as chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee, said: “This resolution simply demands transparent elections. The OAS isn’t alone, the European Union also does it as one of the methods to solve the country’s severe humanitarian crisis.” Lawmaker Biagio Pilieri (16J caucus) backed the OAS’ resolution and regretted stances such as the one held by Ecuador’s government, linking the proposal with the protest action that identifies his caucus, restating that they won’t go to any elections before changing the CNE, “changing the regime and we won’t fall for sham dialogues to give it more breathing room.” Luis Florido and Juan Guaidó made a demonstration on “How not to do damage control,” meaning all of Voluntad Popular’s blunders, as they issued a statement denying and condemning corruption accusations against Florido, ratifying that the decision to replace him is a sanction for Florido’s decision-making style and regretting that the internal mishap has turned into a matter of national relevance.

Against censorship

Over 100 human rights organizations condemned the accusations made by Health Minister Luis López against the Coalition of Organizations for the Right to Health and Life (Codevida) and its director, Francisco Valencia.

NGO Proiuris filed a formal complaint before the Prosecutor’s Office, demanding guarantees for the rights of Francisco Valencia and Codevida, in view of the accusations made by the Health Minister. In the joint statement, the defenders explain how these statements seek to intimidate and reprimand activists, healthcare personnel and journalists who have denounced the destruction of the Venezuelan health system, and how this translates to damages and loss of human life. For instance, there’s the painful case of Karla Romero, a six-year old girl who died in the nephrology service of the J.M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital, becoming the second child who dies since the protective measures were granted by the IACHR.

Additionally, the Press and Society Institute (IPYS) described the new modus operandi for censoring information: HTTPS blocks against digital media outlets operating in Venezuela, which makes it impossible to access their content through CANTV, the most important internet provider in the country.

Abroad

  • Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega offered to hold early presidential elections, in an attempt to quell the popular rebellion that has already lasted 56 days with a terrible balance of 146 people murdered. Nicaraguans demand Ortega’s resignation, while he’s dialed up repression —last night, the Alianza Cívica called for a national 24-hour strike for Thursday, encouraging even public servants to join. Along with early elections, the Episcopal Conference has demanded a transition law, to restore the rule of law and an electoral reform so that elections aren’t held without democratic conditions, with illegalized parties, disqualified candidates and a National Electoral Council controlled by sandinismo.
  • American President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un signed an agreement focused on restoring diplomatic relations, returning to peace and denuclearization, without concrete results nor dates. The agreement also contains lines about recovering war prisoners and missing citizens and returning them home, but no dates, with the promise of future meetings to detail these commitments. Trump said that he’ll stop joint military exercises with South Korea (because they’re expensive and too provocative) and that he’ll guarantee the security of the old U.S. enemy; meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un promised to dismantle the nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri, one of the totalitarian dictatorship’s playgrounds.

Ruperta the elephant died early this Tuesday at the Caricuao Zoo, after months of suffering a severe malnutrition that was ignored and denied by the government. She spent 42 years making children smile, she didn’t deserve such a sad end.

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