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.

Abroad

  • “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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