Europe Shuts the Door

Your daily briefing for Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

This Monday, the European Union’s (EU) Foreign ministers approved sanction on another 11 Venezuelan government officials, considering that they’ve “violated human rights and undermined democracy and the Rule of Law,” increasing the list of individuals to whom they’ve imposed bans for travelling to Community territory and frozen the assets they might have in the Union to 18 people. The EU called yesterday to hold new elections “in accordance with internationally recognised democratic standards and the Venezuelan constitutional order” and restated the need to respect all democratically elected institutions, particularly the National Assembly, release all political prisoners and defend democratic principles, the Rule of Law and human rights. The Venezuelan government rejected the measure and claimed in its statement: “It’s astonishing how flagrantly subordinated the European Union is to the Trump Administration, emulating its attacks against Venezuela.”

Sanctioned officials

This time, they’ve included vice-presidents Delcy Rodríguez and Tareck El Aissami; Armed Forces general inspector Sergio Rivero; Army general commander Jesús Suárez; Iván Hernández, chief of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, and Education Minister Elías Jaua. They complete the list with Sandra Oblitas, Socorro Hernández and Xavier Moreno of the National Electoral Council (CNE); Freddy Bernal, head of the Local Committees of Supply and Production (CLAPs) and Deputy General Prosecutor Katherine Harrington. Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrel said that the new Spanish government will emphasize “the need to find political solutions to Venezuela’s situation, which won’t be solved merely with sanctions.” Delcy embraced irony and authorized Federica Mogherini with a Tweet to “use the alleged assets” she owns “to attend the migration crisis that she’s caused with her warmongering, racist and xenophobic policies.”

Nurses in protest

The nursing staff of several healthcare centers in the country joined the indefinite strike called by the DC chapter of the Nurses Association to demand better salaries and adequate working conditions. Most of the testimonies collected by the media talk about miserable wages (insufficient to even pay for bus fares) while others denounced the remarkable workplace dropout rate they’ve been experiencing.

The nurses faced several layoff threats; Bolivarian National Police (PNB) officers arrived to the Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital to prevent the protest and Tal Cual reported that a truck with CLAP boxes arrived at the University Hospital of Caracas, claiming that “they’ve never seen something like that happen before.” Amidst this crisis and with the excuse of “advancing in an integrated health system,” Nicolás appointed Carlos Alvarado as the new Health minister. In 2016, he was the rector of the “Hugo Chávez Frías” University for Health Sciences (UCS).

Meanwhile, Lourdes Ramírez de Viloria, head of the Venezuelan Federation of University Professors Associations, said that universities have joined the strike to resume the permanent conflict in view of the collapse of education institutions, denouncing that they’ve been threatened with losing their jobs if they join the strike.

For Elías Jaua

The Venezuelan Chamber of Private Education (CAVEP) estimates that by the end of 2018, the student dropout rate could reach 70%, deeming the current crisis as unprecedented and very serious. Over 80% of students are requesting documents to emigrate, lowering reenrollment levels by about 15%. Professor Pedro Castro, head of CAVEP, explained that they’ve already closed 20 schools in Caracas this year, that there was a 40% dropout rate during the previous school period and that the worst scenario would be that the dropouts increase by 30% for the coming school year, in addition to the notable loss of teachers who leave the country, a circumstance they can’t handle, and they’ve already had reports of how parents themselves create incentives by paying teachers bonuses in dollars “to keep them in school, for as long as possible.” Another important limitation is the shortage of school texts and other supplies, because the editorial industry’s working at 50% of its installed capacity, so many schools are recycling books and rationing the use of notebooks, because they’re hard to find.

We, migrants

Ligia Bolívar, researcher and human rights defender of UCAB’s Human Rights Center, spoke yesterday before the UN Human Rights Council thanks to the solidarity of Brazilian NGO Conectas.

Bolívar denounced the situation of vulnerability and abuse of Venezuelan migrants’ rights, including “the militarization of operations in Brazil, the mass deportations in Trinidad and Tobago, migrants returned from Mexico without due process, the absence of response to pending shelter requests in Colombia and Brazil, the imposition of new visa requirements in Chile and the selective detentions in the Dominican Republic,” calling the states to shelter Venezuelan migrants and to avoid resorting to measures that violate their rights, just as she called for the government to supply new passports.

More about migrants

Colombian authorities said that in coming days, they’ll publish a decree for the temporary regularization of Venezuelan migrants, and it’s us along with Colombians who lead, according to data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute, the increase of immigrants in Spain during 2017, with 44.2% and 15.7% hikes respectively. A European Parliament mission arrived to Colombia for an official visit to the border with Venezuela to assess the situation on site and create humanitarian aid plans for Venezuelans. There will be a parallel visit to Brazil, where they’ll visit the border area of Boa Vista. This takes place while U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence starts his third Latin American tour, including meetings with President Michel Temer in Brasil, and Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno; visiting a shelter for Venezuelan refugees and travelling to Guatemala to visit the citizens affected by the Volcán de Fuego.

Today, a pack of sanitary pads costs Bs. 2,600,000, half of the new “integral” minimum wage. Another way of explaining the profound crisis we’re experiencing is telling how and to what extent it has affected women. Luisa Kislinger explained it for Spanish newspaper El País with data that dismantles Nicolás’ fake feminism, ranging from the alarming increase in maternal deaths (which rose to 65% in between 2015 and 2016 alone) in the country that shows the second highest teenage pregnancy rate in the entire region, including the serious shortage of contraceptive methods, information and supplies to allow women to decide about their bodies and live a life free from violence. Chavismo is the denial of feminism, equality and freedom are against their desire for control.

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.