Inexcusable

For Thursday, June 28, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: El Universal

Imposed Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab requested the arrest of another 11 PDVSA officials “for committing serious irregularities that affected the mixed ventures of the Orinoco Oil Strip,” making the nation lose $14 million, interpreted by Saab as “actions of deliberate sabotage.“ The fact that chavistas think it’s an achievement to have 90 PDVSA authorities prosecuted, including 23 high executives, and they’re incapable of apologizing for the terrible staff they picked and their share of responsibility in any corruption scheme (by action or omission) is inexcusable. But don’t worry, because the Armed Forces will support the development of Plan 50 (to establish prices for 50 essential products amidst hyperinflation) a project for which the representatives of the country’s main industries (Fedecámaras, Fedeagro, Fedenaga and Conindustria) haven’t been convened yet. The TSJ Political Administrative Chamber accepted a lawsuit filed by Metro de Caracas against Odebrecht and Seguros Caroní for breaching a contract to build 2,400 housing units. The lawsuit’s for $76,050,000 and Bs. 850,650,333.33. They can’t keep their trains and stations operational, but they still wanted to build houses, funny, isn’t it? Remarkably, former Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero speaks like an average chavista. In his interview for La Nación, he criticized the sanctions, asking for a political alternative to an inefficient and corrupt government and worried over accountability “if the catastrophe arrives.” Obviously, he doesn’t live here.

Protesting

The indefinite strike called by nurses to demand better salaries and working conditions goes on and they caution that in case they don’t manage to improve their conditions, they will resign en masse from hospitals, in addition to the notable diaspora the sector’s already been reporting.

The Venezuelan Federation of University Professors Associations (Fapuv), announced a new 48-hour strike between June 28 and 29, in protest for low salaries and terrible working conditions. University students protested yesterday before the Economy and Finance Ministry, demanding economic improvements to stop the diaspora of professors: “I don’t want CLAP, I don’t want bonuses, all we want is a future for us,” was one of the slogans. Freddy Ceballos, head of the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation (Fefarven), demanded that the new Health Ministry, Carlos Alvarado, offer solutions to the State’s failed policies on medicine production. “If you can’t offer answers, resources and there are no effective public policies regarding health, we won’t achieve anything,” said Ceballos and urged Nicolás to do his job.

Against Nicolás

Bloomberg published an article yesterday about an alleged conspiracy to arrest and prosecute Nicolás, a plan that failed in May which has caused dozens of secret arrests of high and mid-ranking military officers. The Operación Constitución involved dozens of military officers from the Armed Forces’ four components, people who would assault the Miraflores Palace and the main military base and would stop May 20 elections, and arrest Nicolás. The article says that part of the plan was carried out in Bogota, a key for Nicolás’s obsessive mentions. “The plotters believe they were betrayed, possibly by a double agent. This reconstruction of the conspiracy is based on interviews with one plot coordinator who escaped arrest, two who attended planning sessions, and lawyers and relatives of the accused,” said the journalists. Bloomberg’s informants were all anonymous. The article is also based on a report of a military court that presents the government’s version of the events which, according to those interviewed, mixes facts with fiction, including the involvement of María Corina Machado. I conclude with these lines: “Some members of the Venezuelan military say the only hope for a return to stability is to replace Maduro by force. That remains unlikely after the coup’s failure.”

We, migrants

Eurodeputy Francisco Assis said yesterday that the European Parliament will recommend that the European Union increase the amount of financial aid to help Venezuelan migrants in Brazil, after the mission he’s a part of visited Roraima, aware of the fact that the migration problem is overwhelming border states’ capacities. Assis also said that the solution for this crisis is a change of government, emphasizing that “Venezuelan themselves must solve this problem.” U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence visited a shelter for Venezuelan migrants in Manaos, after announcing additional aid for $10 million for migration flows. Alejandro Daneri, head of Argentina’s White Helmets, said yesterday that this organization is part of a system where tasks don’t overlap. White Helmets will focus on helping Venezuelan pregnant and breastfeeding women of up to 17 years old, as a first containment ring to relief the Colombian healthcare system, with a goal of 200 daily consultations in cardiology, ultrasound, pediatrics, gynecology and family clinic.

Abroad

  • Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero met with representative and ambassadors of the Lima Group’s member countries to monitor the crisis that we’re experiencing in Venezuela.

  • Trump’s travel ban, ratified by the Supreme Court of Justice, affects officials “from Venezuelan government bodies who were involved in investigation and selection procedures (for visas),” in other words, officials from the Interior and Foreign Ministries; from SAIME; CICPC and SEBIN, as well as their direct relatives. The remaining Venezuelans can enter U.S. soil with their visa. The ban is effective starting October 18, 2018.
  • Venezuelan exports to Colombia dropped by 31% during the first quarter of 2018, according to figures published by the Colombian National Administrative Department of Statistics and the estimates of the Venezuelan-Colombian Chamber of Economic Integration. Imports from Colombia have increased, however.

On Journalist Day, the phone companies CANTV, Movistar and Digitel didn’t attend the meeting scheduled by the National Assembly’s Media Committee, to explain the blockade against several news sites in the country, but they all issued congratulations for journalists. The official campaign raising Correo del Orinoco as the source of continental journalism is absurd; even knowing how much the government enjoys military proclamation. The numbers of the National Union of Press Workers are devastating: “On average, 20 whole classes of journalists have left the country since 2012,” over 1,300 people. When you can, read Marcelino Bisbal’s article “Contra la censura” and congratulations to all those who inconvenience the government despite censorship.

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