A Dollar a Month

For Thursday, June 21, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Prensa Presidencial

Nicolás announced the fourth wage hike of 2018 and the 45th in 19 years of chavismo, taking the minimum wage to Bs. 3,000,000, while the food bonus reached Bs. 2,196,000, effective this very Wednesday, recovering a wage that surpasses food bonuses.

The raise will also apply to pensions (Bs. 3,000,000) and the raise for the “economic war” bonus will be Bs. 1,200,000.

This happens on the same day that Reuters reveals PDVSA’s oil exports fell by 32% in the first half of June compared to May (it exported just 765,000 barrels daily,). It was also yesterday that Economy Vice-minister Tareck El Aissami announced the takeover of eigh markets in various cities in the country for “re-labeling prices,” a logical action amidst hyperinflation, which the chavista narrative claims “is a part of the war,” transferring all the responsibility for the bolivar’s debacle to business owners. The adjectives El Aissami used against price hikes, “arbitrary and criminal,” could be easily applied to the monetary mass increases carried out by the Central Bank every week.

Release, sentence, threaten

This Tuesday, a year after mass arrests in Nueva Esparta, the civilians tried before military courts were fully released, as reported by the state’s Human Rights network. Lawmaker Delsa Solórzano published the list of the 17 released citizens.

But yesterday, soldiers and civilians allegedly involved in the “Blue Coup” were sentenced for a second time “for confessing to the events,” nullifying the first sentence issued in January. The punishments range between three and five years. Just yesterday morning, the relatives of political prisoners who haven’t been released went to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. Later, Luisa Ortega Díaz presented over Skype an Amnesty Bill before the National Assembly’s Interior Policy Committee containing 19 articles, applicable “when the country retakes the democratic thread.” In 2016, the AN approved a Law on Amnesty and National Reconciliation that was declared unconstitutional by Nicolás because, according to him, it sought “to protect murderers, criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists.” Ortega added that soldiers have been tortured so that they involve María Corina Machado in an alleged conspiracy.

Amazing chavismo

In less that 24 hours, two of the school transports promoted by Carabobo governor Rafael Lacava malfunctioned in the Cedeño and Universidad avenues in Valencia. Carlos Vargas only lasted six months in the Cryptoassets Bureau and he’ll be replaced by Joselit Ramírez, who has worked for El Aissami in the Vice-president’s Office and in Aragua Governor’s Office. Interior Minister Néstor Reverol reported the dismantling of a band of kidnappers that operated in the Guarenas-Guatire hub, showing pictures of the four detainees; “a phone, a vehicle and a motorcycle” were confiscated from them, three relevant objects to prove their criminal activities.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza used the circumstance with immigrants at the border to denounce the U.S. government before the international community, labeling it a “creator of wars, deaths and destruction (…) that keeps both visible and underground torture centers,” celebrating that “the main Human Rights violator” is no longer part of the UN Human Rights Council. If you ever need a briefing on cynicism, read that statement.

We, migrants

Ecuador announced that they’re planning, with international aid, to set up temporary shelters for Venezuelans arriving to their territory; they received nearly 288,000 people in 2017 alone. This same country issued an alert for the illegal sale of human albumin produced by the Venezuelan company Quimbiotec, a product that hasn’t been distributed in Venezuela for months. In his institutional message for the World Refugee Day, OAS secretary general Luis Almagro deeply thanks “the countries in the region that are giving protection to millions of displaced Venezuelans.”

Read on El Pitazo the story of teacher Cecilia Cherbonnel, head of the Franco Queretano Institute, who started granting scholarships to Venezuelan children who lack resources and have managed to inspire seven other education institutions to join their cause.


  • “Venezuela is a basic task where we can work together so that our effort, in different aspects, contributes to restore democracy,” said Spanish king Philip VI in his statement with Donald Trump.

  • Trump, who said “when we seek to process the parents for coming here illegally, something we must do, we must separate the children,” defending his zero tolerance policy that sparked severe criticism for its cruelty, had to back up and say yesterday: “I didn’t like seeing families separated.” He signed a decree to end that practice.
  • Colombia’s president-elect Iván Duque said that he won’t appoint an ambassador to Venezuela, but he’ll keep consular relations, saying that relations will be tense and restating that he disregards the results of the May 20 process. Duque called for the release of political prisoners and urged all countries in the region to work on an articulated strategy to help transition to free elections in Venezuela.
  • The European Union unanimously greenlighted the imposition of new sanctions against Venezuelan officials, a decision that European Foreign Ministers must confirm on Monday. This time, they’ll focus on individuals linked with the organization of the presidential election, because they believe the results lack credibility.
  • Beatriz Becerra, vice-president of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee  on Human Rights, will accompany Irwin Cotler in his presentation. Cotler is one of the OAS experts who made the report proving that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela.

  • Paulo Abrazo, head of the IACHR, said that the Nicaraguan Foreign Minister issued the communiqués with the agreements for the Dialogue Table on June 15 and 16, inviting the institution to install the MESENI, the GIEI and accompany the Verification and Security Committee.
  • The Canadian Senate confirmed the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, opening the path for its free production and consumption, thus putting an end to the prohibition that weighed on this substance since 1923, even though its medicinal use has been allowed since 2001.

BBC Mundo explained the operation of the Virtual Center for Higher Studies on High Energies in Venezuela (CEVALE2VE), an initiative that gathers young Venezuelan physicists who have been offering classes over YouTube from abroad and even help them find scholarships. The story’s fascinating, read it when you can.

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  1. When I click on:

    “an initiative that gathers young Venezuelan physicists,” I get the following message:

    “Not Found
    The requested URL /mundo/amp/noticias-44398583 ​ was not found on this server.
    Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) Server at http://www.bbc.com Port 443″

  2. Our rainy season here began in earnest on about the 15th of June. And for those of you who have never experienced a Venezuelan “winter”, when it rains, it POURS, and for the most part, that means most every day.

    We replaced half our roof two summers ago, but failed to do so this past “summer” because we just had too many irons in the fire and there always seemed to be a more pressing need for the money. Fortunately, we have no shortage of buckets.

    My point in all of this was the subject of a conversation I had with my woman yesterday about the quality of life of the average pueblo-person here in our humble town. For the most part, since buying this place a number of years ago, it’s been a constant routine of upgrading our home, and it’s still missing a lot as evidenced by my “buckets” comment.

    How the hell can the average Venezuelan who doesn’t have enough money to buy food for his family, manage to keep them dry today? If the roof on this place was in need of major repair when we bought it, I’m betting most every other roof in town is in a similar condition. Haven’t checked the pricing of lamina recently, but (and exuse the pun) I bet it’s gone through the roof. I’ll know next week as we’re going to buy what we need and just store it until summer arrives.

    Just another day in the People’s Socialist Paradise of Venezuela.

    • Yes, lamina has gone through the roof. The herrero mentioned the other day is trying to buy prohibitively-expensive laminas (acero) to try to survive making urnas (coffins), the only real business he has left, and, with skyrocketing demand, to boot (hill).

        • @MRubio…probably a dumb question but is lamina the same thing as roofing shingles or is it more like roofing tiles? Either way, if it is leaking and the rainy season has started it’s a good thing you have buckets on hand to use until you can get it repaired.

          Any good news on finding new sources for corn for the new season. The last I heard nobody in your area was even planting this year.

          • Tom, lamina is basically tin roofing. You know, the curvy stuff we normally use on chicken coops in the states, though there are some versions that are more robust than others.

            Needless to say, when it starts to drizzle, you’re keenly aware of it. By the time it gets to the “palo of aqua” stage as they call it hear, it’s deafening. I sleep lightly so I’m aware of every shower that arrives during the night. Having said that, in most of the house we’ve also got a suspended ceiling so that does muffle the roar a bit.

            I’m negotiating the sale of my heavy equipment right now and the fellow who’s acting as broker told me that the Brazilians are busy plowing about 500 acres 20 minutes from here. It’ll be long trip to haul and costly to buy because they sell dear, but it does look like I’ll at least have an option of last resort.

            Last year when I was buying at 2500 bs to the kilo, the Brazilians were selling at 3500 bs to the kilo. However, I did not get a look at their product. If the grains were exceptionally large (hybrid and well-fertilized), the 3500 bs to the kilo would have been about equal in value all things considered.

        • Do you remember Island Canuck from the Devil’s Excrement? He was in Margarita, owned a hotel.

          I wonder what happened to him.

  3. MRubio – Why don’t you move to Chile (and your family). I safer there (than US also). I think they would have something for you and family

      • And in my case NET, old age and set in his ways. Besides, I want to be watching Chavez TV the day I hear the house of cards is finally falling.

        • And watching when the final card is burned (in say El Tigre or one of Mad Dog Ernie’s “smoking” rooms, in Miraflores). You ought sponsor a lottery “to pick a date”. You could sell to ex-pat

    • @MRubio…gotcha..what we call corrugated galvanized sheet metal. And yes they can be a little noisey especially during thunderstorms with hail! Can be deafening! Lol. Of course hail is probably not really a problem for you.

      Glad you at least have an alternate souce for corn when the crop comes in. Even if it is higher cost that’s better than no source at all
      Hope the family’s medical situations are improving!

        • Tom and Waltz, thanks for the kind words. The medical news from here is mixed. Valeria is out of the woods and back home recovering, but Crystal is back in intensive care..

          Two nights ago she started vomiting green, which her mother immediately recognized was the result of an obstruction in her intestines. It’s happened before, and the result was the same. They rushed her to Caracas and she had emergency surgery, though I believe at a clinic other than the one that’s been attending her because her doctors weren’t in-country.

          Anyway, they removed part of her intestine, not sure if it was the large intestine or the small, and she’s recovering from the surgery. The disappointing news is that the doctors there told her mother to do everything possible to get her out of the country or she’ll die here because they just don’t have capabilities to deal with her condition. Her condition is nothing especially difficult to treat, they’re just not equipped to handle it according to the doctors and it’s getting worse by the day. They recommended she go to Spain for treatment.

          Crystal’s grandfather on her father’s side is originally from Spain. Crystal’s dad petitioned Spanish authorities for citizenship a few years ago and it was granted based on his father’s citizenship. He’s since managed to get the paperwork processed for Crystal’s siblings, the oldest daughter who is 11, and their son who is 8 or 9.

          This latest event scared the hell out of Crystal’s parents. They’re now doing everything possible to process paperwork for Crystal as fast as possible. Crystal’s mom is not a citizen of Spain though she can enter the country without problem because she’s married to a Spanish citizen. Crystal needs paperwork that they don’t yet have.

          So, no matter how you slice it, it’s not a good situation. They’ll either all leave together and make the move permanent or perhaps just Crystal and her parents will make the move, leaving the two siblings behind for the time being to continue their schooling. They’re in a private school and still have family in Maturin. Crystal’s dad’s business will probably be ruined no matter which alternative they choose and MrsRubio will basically lose her daughter and grandchildren.

          Sucks. Venezuela really sucks in a lot of ways.

          • Wow…I am so sorry to hear that but am glad to hear Valeria is doing better. I hope Crystal will do better after the surgery as they look for a long-term solution …you can be sure your family is remembered in prayer!

  4. From the link ” the takeover of eight markets”:
    “The measure also includes seeking a better functioning of these spaces.”
    And “…the businesses within these markets must offer the products with agreed prices…”

    In a command economy, the marxists command you what to do with your money and assets.

    • Result: abandoned spaces go to cronies; continuing spaces pay kickbacks/protection/inspectors; scarcity increases; prices much higher than would be normally.

  5. “In less that 24 hours, two of the school transports promoted by Carabobo governor Rafael Lacava malfunctioned in the Cedeño and Universidad avenues in Valencia.”

    Is the United States preventing China from sending replacement parts to their Chavist brethren? WHY are there no spare parts from China?

    These are questions that thinking people should be asking face to face to the governor. His answers should be broadcast, loud and proud, on the airwaves and in print for all of Venezuela to see.

    Are these questions being asked? Are the people afraid to ask them?

    • Buses were imported for the grossly large commissions obtained. Maintenance is of no interest, since it’s hard work/commissions are less/no $ now available anyway. Er Pueblo in its vast ignorance, cannot even begin to comprehend this/ greater economic problems.

      • I would not be surprised if chavismo ordered 1,000 new Chinese buses but failed to buy a single spare part with the order. Run it till it squats then buy another as long as other people’s money lasts.

  6. Usually parts are cannibalized form one bus to another, for example Bus no. 1 has a problem with its starter motor, so they take it away from Bus no. 2 and install it in Bus no. 1, so now we have Bus. no. 2 sitting with a missing starter motor …

    • We did the same thing in the military in the field, but it was out of necessity. One piece of equipment was cannibalized to keep the others flying. “Temporizing”. It was a short term fix to an immediate problem. The cannibalized equipment ended up getting all the new parts in the end…

      However, it isn’t a way to keep the machine moving. Pretty soon you run out of stuff that wears out the fastest and you end up with ZERO operating equipment. Chavismo is too wrapped up in its own “Revolutionary Rhetoric” and self importance to think anything through. Buses, Metro, oil pumps, water pumps, electrical grid…

  7. The name of the pension increase cracks me up.
    “Bonus for protection from the economic war”.
    Translation: “It’s not our fault that you can’t afford to live on your pension.”


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