Recording the Horror

Your daily briefing for Saturday, June 23, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: CNN

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released this Friday its second report on Venezuela, denouncing hundreds of homicides, alleged extrajudicial executions, excessive use of force against protesters, tortures and arbitrary detentions by security forces. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, recommended that the International Criminal Court (ICC) be involved in the case because the authorities seem “to lack the capacity or the will to try those responsible for the serious human rights violations,” including the uninvestigated death of 43 inmates in Amazonas’ prison and the actions of the Operations for People’s Liberation (OLP) and the Humanitarian Operations for People’s Liberation, which have left 505 deaths at the hands of security bodies in low-income areas to detain alleged criminals without judicial warrants. The report shows how impunity benefits security bodies and documents dozens of cases of detained citizens who were subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments, and torture: “the fact that security forces have not been held accountable for the serious human rights violations that have been committed, suggests that the Rule of Law is practically absent in Venezuela,” says the report which also mentions the severe food crisis we’re experiencing. Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein suggested the creation of a committee charged with investigating any human rights violations in Venezuela. The government condemned the report and UN secretary general António Guterres thinks the number of documented abuses is astonishing.

Idle Capacity

According to Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo, Venezuela has the capacity to boost its production by a million barrels per day (bpd) by year’s end, following Nicolás’s message about this possibility with the support of Russia, China and the OPEC “if necessary.” For Quevedo this is a greatly challenging goal but it’s the one they’ve set for themselves, adding that they want to discuss further in the next few weeks with ConocoPhillips, also commenting on a recovery plan with the refineries that will allow them to use the idle capacity that he admitted they have. In any case, the Isla refinery in Curacao is looking for a provisional operator to replace PDVSA as lessee of the facility, which has been inactive due to lack of oil, according to a document accessed by Reuters. Isla sent letters to oil firms and operators to offer them the management of the facility in the short term and under a new long term lease contract starting in January 2020. After being for four weeks at Bs. 80,000 per dollar, the DICOM exchange rate had a 21.35% variation to reach Bs. 97,000 in the 19th auction. Meanwhile, the indestructible black market dollar surpassed the Bs. 3,000,000 mark. The government reprinted the decree increasing the Tax Unit to correct the mistake in the previous edition regarding the third raise of the year, which went from Bs. 850 to Bs. 1,200, a 41% hike and the necessary detail to clarify that the food bonus wasn’t increased and remained at 61 TU per day. By the way, Minister Eduardo Piñate pointed out that the wage hike will be effective starting July 15, not now like Nicolás said.

Epidemiological Data

The Central University’s Center for Malaria Studies recorded over 1,400 cases of the disease in the first months of this year: “Previously, we didn’t have more than 35 cases a year,” said doctor Oscar Noya in the 13th Infectology Congress. Although the Health Ministry doesn’t release official data, Noya estimated that 60% of malaria cases in the American continent are taking place in Venezuela and cautioned that the disease has spread and there is no state without its own malaria cases, regretting the lack of prophylactic programs to treat it nor control on mining activity in Bolívar state, the largest endemic area in the country: in there, for every case with symptoms, there are other six that are asymptomatic which keep infecting the vectors. The Health Ministry registered 150 deaths from malaria; the Center for Malaria Studies estimates that the death toll is ten times larger. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) also cautioned that the number of malaria cases increased considerably and that the disease’s dissemination is linked with the migration of infected citizens, with the impossibility of acquiring anti-malaria medication and the lack of effective programs to control the vectors. Additionally, the PAHO is asking Venezuela to implement an urgent plan to stop the transmission of measles and diphtheria. Measles affects 17 states in the country and the Capital District. According to lawmaker José Manuel Olivares, the World Health Organization’s International Financial Fund approved $5,000,000 for HIV treatment in Venezuela.


  • The IACHR’s final report on the serious human rights violations committed by Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship, confirmed that 212 people have been killed by State repression, which have also left 1,337 people wounded and 507 arrested. The report also denounces “arbitrary uses of lethal force or the existence of extrajudicial executions.” Like his local peer, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada rejected the report and accused the IACHR of having a political bias and practically said the victims were conspiring to destabilize “democracy” in Nicaragua. Eleven countries supported the report and only Venezuela and Bolivia supported dictator Ortega.
  • “Maduro’s exit is a necessary condition for regime change and for returning Venezuelans their democracy,” said Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, who also spoke of how this dictatorship “destroyed democratic institutions” and “has done nothing but violating human rights.” Santos said that Colombians will continue “pressuring from as many fronts as possible to seek that regime change and a situation that helps Venezuela recover its freedoms and its democracy.”
  • Starting on June 25, the European Parliament will sent delegations to Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil and assess migrant flows and know the situation of migrants. They will also meet with the organizations attending them (UNCHR and the Red Cross,) as well as meeting with local authorities.
  • Spain’s Council of Ministers approved extraditing Venezuelan Rafael Reiter Muñoz to the U.S. to be tried for criminal organization and money laundering. Reiter, former head of PDVSA’s loss security and prevention department, will be tried for crimes committed between 2011 and 2013.
  • Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie cautioned about the “great intensification” of our crisis, adding that the Lima Group is in constant communication because they’re concerned with “remedying or finding solutions for the migration crisis.”

Funvisis reported an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 on the Richter scale northeast of Irapa, Sucre state, which was felt in several regions near the east and south of the country. No structural damage or injured have been reported yet.

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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.