Photo: NoticiasBarquisimeto.com

Nicolás announced this Friday two new bonuses to be transferred via carnet de la patria: Independence and Niño Simón; without specifying amounts, but claiming that they’ll benefit at least ten million carnet holders. The rest of his presentation was a needless mockery of the severe hardships we’re facing, admitting an unprecedented economic distortion and promising to beat it (as if he hadn’t created it himself); he promised that our economic development will astonish the world “knockout for the economic war and imperialism!”; he announced as an achievement that six million homes now depend on CLAP boxes to eat and he now wants the boxes to arrive every 15 days and to contain proteins and hygiene products. He claimed that the CLAPs are “a tool for the country’s productive transformation,” another pointless joke, but he added that today Tareck El Aissami will offer details about the new “agreed” prices and that Caracas will have a better water supply system by October.

Out of electricity

Venezuela ranks 10th (out of 137 studied nations) in the list of countries with the worst electric service, surpassing Pakistan, Ethiopia and Argel. Yesterday morning, the head of the committee of citizens affected by outages, Aixa López, denounced that so far in 2018, there have been 16,210 electric failures in the country: “What’s happening in the country resists definitions, what Zulians are living is a crime,” adding that the electric system’s still collapsing, that it hasn’t be stabilized and that the government keeps lying about the state of the electric system, that Minister Luis Motta Domínguez “doesn’t take responsibility and doesn’t tell the truth about what’s happening.” For López, if the government keeps lying, it’s impossible to help solve the issue. A bit later, in Vargas state, amidst a protest for the new collective bargaining agreement, Reinaldo Díaz, executive secretary of the National Electric Corporation’s (Corpoelec) union, said that close to 17,000 electric industry employees have quit to emigrate, explaining that “many failures can’t be solved due to lack of personnel.” The demand of Corpoelec employees is a decent salary.

Briefs and serious

  • A judge in Houston ruled that ConocoPhillips may include Citgo, PDVSA’s branch company in the U.S., in its case to enforce the two billion dollar compensation obtained in an arbitrage for the nationalization of their assets in Venezuela. The decision is another defeat for PDVSA.
  • The start of the monetary reconversion, set for August, could be postponed against because the Central Bank’s new administration is studying the previous one, but also, the new banknotes haven’t arrived!
  • Lawmaker Delsa Solórzano said that in the first year of administration, they’ve received 2,865 complaints for human rights violations. For the second year, they received 5,000 complaints and if they account for the complaints against other rights, they surpass 8,000. The complaints about repression, illegal detentions, homicides, cruel treatments or tortures, have been ignored by State institutions.
  • “This is a most powerful message to the Venezuelan government that these abuses will no longer be tolerated, not just in the region but also in the United Nations,” said Tamara Taraciuk from Human Rights Watch about the complaint made by 53 UN member countries against human rights violations in Venezuela.

We, migrants

The European Parliament demanded that Venezuela allows the access of humanitarian aid and urged the European Union (EU) to release more funds to assists Venezuelan fleeing the country, expressing their consternation and alarm about our humanitarian crisis, emphasizing that “the Venezuelan government insists on denying the problem.” Besides thanking Colombia, Brazil and other countries for their help and solidary, they also asked EU member nations “to provide an immediate response of protection” to Venezuelans with humanitarian visas. A Guyana Foreign Ministry delegation will visit Puerto Ordaz between July 12 and 16 to guarantee a more effective response to Guyanese citizens who want to return to their country and to Venezuelans who seek shelter there. State Minister Joseph Harmon said that the information from Puerto Ordaz suggests that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 Guyanese citizens in the area. The families of the 172 Venezuelans arrested in Trinidad y Tobago protested before that nation’s embassy in Caracas to demand that their relatives be released as returnees. Lastly, yesterday Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie dispatched the second contingent of doctors and specialists in primary healthcare who, under the coordination of the White Helmets Commission, will work in Cucuta to relieve the humanitarian crisis of Venezuelan migrants. This organization focuses on attending pregnant women and children up to 17 years old.

Diplomatic tensions

This Thursday, U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo issued a statement ratifying his support for freedom in the country, remarking that he’s working with the U.S. partners to “help reach a future of peace, democracy and prosperity.” The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry condemned Pompeo’s statement. After the discrepancy for the trial against Rafael Correa, president Lenín Moreno spoke of asking UNASUR to return the building that served as their headquarters “to give it a better use,” adding that even though it was a good idea, “to to human and ideological failures,” that project never crystalized; well, yesterday the Ecuadorian Parliament urged Moreno to label our situation as a humanitarian crisis, to request the creation of a humanitarian channel between the two countries to attend increasing emigration and also declare the state of vulnerability of Ecuadorians living in Venezuela. Meanwhile, in Caracas, the Foreign Ministry delivered a note of protest to Ecuador rejecting the stance adopted by their government regarding Venezuela. After Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga spoke on behalf of the Lima Group rejecting the possibility of a U.S. military intervention, a spokesman of the White House Security Council denied that such a thing has been planned, although he acknowledged that the military option continues to be one of the tools that Washington has to “help” Venezuelans “recover democracy”; additionally, Colombian president-elect Iván Duque and U.S. vice-president Mike Pence held a meeting, and you can imagine the local paranoia, while Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza is currently in South Africa.

Nurses keep protesting, yet the Administration has done nothing about it or their demands. The Central University’s Professors Association also said that the sector will continue on strike that started this Thursday. Note: yesterday, the UCV’s Security Department released a job offer for security guards that includes a monthly salary of a bit less than Bs. 15,000,000, which far surpasses a professor’s wages.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. “Venezuela ranks 10th (out of 137 studied nations) in the list of countries with the worst electric service, surpassing Pakistan, Ethiopia and Argel. ”

    Ok, but where does Venezuela rank on the price of electricity? I recall that electricity in Venezuela was the lowest cost in this hemisphere. If that is still true, Venezuelans are getting cheap but unreliable electric service.

    • I don’t know what we pay here at the house, but it’s not much. Most homes are rarely billed.

      It’s why one sees homes with AC’s running and the windows wide open.

      • Roy, a few years ago, at the then-exisiting exchange rate, I was paying 11 cents for diesel…………not 11 cents per liter, nor 11 cents per gallon, 11 cents for a 55 gallon drum!!!!! I don’t think the price has been changed since so it’s gotta be something on the order of a half-cent or less for the drum today.

        The gas stations are the only businesses that still accept bills of 2, 5, 10, and 20 bolivares.

        • When the value of metal (or plastic) of the barrel is more valuable than the product in the barrel.. there will be no more barrels, finally socialist paradise. Or the resetting of values..

          • You all fail to see the ACTUAL reason behind the “low gas prices”: The bachaquero mafias that smuggle tanker ships full of gasoline and other fuels WANT to keep getting their merch for FREE.

            That the perraje gets gas for almost nothing is just an unintended side effect, one that’s quickly “fixed” by rationing and/or extorting all the fuel off the perraje at every gnb checkpoint.

    • Extremely expensive when you add in the other costs that the entire society must also pay: excess backup capacity due to unreliability, price subsidy, inefficiency of tax collection for the subsidy, waste from the subsidy, graft, crony union non-productivity, poor planning, cost of capital, top-heavy management bureaucracy, poor maintenance due to low accountability, lack of competition, etc.

      • Not to mention burned out air conditioners and fans and light bulbs and refrigerators etc. that free electricity gets pretty expensive when it burns out your freezer and all your food goes bad. Another interesting point is the bit coin miners must be having a field day mining with free energy. If they can surge protect all their computers from power spikes that is.

  2. He claimed that the CLAPs are “a tool for the country’s productive transformation,”

    Yeah, sure, with every single product in the last CLAP box I examined having originated in Mexico. A productive transformation indeed.

  3. “The start of the monetary reconversion, set for August, could be postponed against because the Central Bank’s new administration is studying the previous one, but also, the new banknotes haven’t arrived!”

    With hyperinflation, the new notes are obsolete before they even arrive. Maybe Miraflores has finally figured something out.

    • Maybe they are going to take another three zeros off (six total). If the exchange rate is around 20 M bs to 1 when they introduce the new notes, would be 20 Bolivar Supremes to the dollar instead of 20000.

  4. So nothing has been changed except the decay is accelerating. Cqn’t help but to speculate that something must be going on in the background. Things are just too quiet but in the meantime it must be super comforting to Venezuelans to read that human rights abuses “will no longer be tolerated”. I thought that would never happen. Give that man a free life time subscription to clap bags.

  5. He wants the CLAP boxes to include “proteins”…..that could mean anything from potted meat to pickled pigs feet.

    • Pickled pigs feet and potted meat? Most of us would consider that a luxury at this point, even the imitation potted meat.

      When he says “proteins”, he’s talking about beans.

      • I left you a message on the Corpolec shutting down the radio station comment blog.
        Feel free to exchange my contact info with anyone you feel appropriate.
        Phone calls are not even getting into Venezuela anymore. I keep getting a recording saying that calls into the country can not be completed at this time.

        • The woman just got back from a trip to Maturin to pick up 3 sacks of sugar. She told me she stopped at a Farmatodo to look for some bathroom supplies.

          A bar of Palmolive soap………15 million bolivares! She apparently ran out of the store screaming for her life. LOL

          • Bs 15M for a bar of soap is about US$4.5 This is a lot more than the price in the US where a 10 pack of Ivory Pure Clean Bar Soap (31.7 oz) sells at $4.59 S about 10 times more expensive in Venezuela, where minimum wage is about 1000 times less.

  6. I was about to say that people may have to relearn some of the old ways of our forefathers..like making your own lye soap but then I remembered it requires animal fat to make it and nobody (or hardly anybody) has access to animal fat.

        • Wow Ira…the mental image your suggestion evokes…..Chavistas being boiled in a big black fat rendering kettle to make soap…..I uhhhh don’t know what to say….

          • Well, in all fairness…

            The Nazi apologists of the last few decades have been denying that Jews (and others) were slaughtered and rendered down to make soap, plus making lamp shades out of their skin.

            There’s definitely evidence this happened (those clever Nazis!), but only a few instances/locations. There’s no real evidence this was done a large scale, because after all:

            How much soap and lampshades did the Germans need anyway?

            However, this is the battle the current Nazis choose to fight, that it never, ever happened at all.

            As if it’s such a leap of faith to believe it did, when you look at everything else.

        • @Ira, you are right about that. The many many well documented atrocities committed against the Jewish populations of Europe (and against other populations as well) during the Holocaust remain as vivid reminders of what can happen when evil goes unchallenged. The various groups that try to deny that it ever happened are doing so because the denials serve their agendas .

          Whenever the day comes for the key Chavistas to face judgement and justice I think I personally would prefer that the punishment handed down be a more traditional form of punishment such as the noose or firing squad rather than being sentenced to being rendered into soap and lampshades……but that’s just the opinion of an outsider looking in. The Venezuelans who are suffering at their hands may have a different opinion.

          • One of the biggest lies being propagated since the end of the war, was that the SS was responsible for the genocides. That if you were regular army, Wermacht, you had nothing to do with it, and were innocent of at least THAT.

            However, if you do the math…and look at the evidence…it would be impossible for the SS ranks to kill anywhere NEAR the number of innocent non-combatants without the Wermacht’s very active participation every step of the way, not to mention the civilian police personnel.

            Ask Kepler. He knows.

  7. The massive failures we are now experiencing in the supply of electricity are the result of years of neglect and mismanagement (with a heavy dose of corruption thrown in) …….., same for many other failures in other public functions , and yet we have no norm or institution entrusted with technically and reliably MONITORING the performance year by year of the public organs whose responsibility it is to attend to the supply of electricity to the country and other public functions , nor any standards to measure the suitability of the performance of those functions , we just vote for some guys in a polling process , holistic fashion ….., if we had objective public standards and goals known to all about how these public services had to be performed to meet public demand and non partisan expert organs for monitoring and assesing the performnace of public bodies in each area of responsability , then maybe these failures might be avoided ,
    Understand that in certain cities of colombia, candidates to mayoral offices must present a program with specific goals which they promise to meet if elected to office and that such plans are digitally published and then evaluated year by year by an independent group of experts and then published digitally so people can follow and asses by themselves whether those people they helped elect are doing their jobs or not , the current system of voting for a political candidate or party based on their holisitic cloud coucou land promises without any concrete program and no officially recorded monitoring of their performance and results year by year seems very inadequate, govts must be accountable but then the system whereby they are held accountable must be improved to make them effective……., politics must in future be made into something more than a blood sport or a popularity contest…!!

    • A country where theoretically electric demand should be declining due to emigration, multi year double-digit recession and less commerce.. and they still fail.

        • And more immigrating bitcoin-farming machines, but only for the enchufados, because the regime has strictly forbidden regular people from ever importing anything that could even be used to put a computer together since it can be used for “circumventing cencoex and aid with the economic war”

  8. In the last two days I have seen two brilliant neologisms that involve Venezuela. The first one is “Gone Venezuela” (by British journalist Tina Brown) to refer to a hot mess of a situation. And now we have the title of this post–Chavenfreude (from the German schadenfreude, pleasure from other people’s miseries). It seems that here the meaning refers to Nicolas enjoying (exploiting) the woes of Venezuelans, but it occurs to me that the same cab ne applied to people who suffer such woes, but continue to support the regime. Those who are “resteaos con el comandante.”

    • Does anyone have any up to date numbers regarding oil production, imports and domestic consumption?
      The last I saw was an OPEC (I think) report showing production @ 1.392 mm bpd.
      The last numbers that I saw for domestic consumption were in the 600,000 bpd neighborhood.
      Imports of naptha used as a diluent must be down. I can’t find any stats for imports of refined fuels or naptha which would help to make a more educated guess on production.
      There have been reports that many oil tankers owned by PDVSA are sitting at anchor, fully loaded to avoid seizure should they travel to deliver the cargo.
      It is entirely possible that the whole PDVSA scheme has collapsed. As I have followed the production and deducted the domestic consumption that brings in no money and the exports to China and Russia, PDVSA was extracting 3 barrels for every barrel available for export sale.
      This was in the context of the last reported lift costs being in the $25 per barrel range. As production has decreased, a larger fraction of the oil production has been going to uses other than export sale.
      I’m pretty sure that PDVSA can no longer cover lift costs. The announced Chinese investment may be intended to help the Chinese get as much of what is owed to them as possible before everything stops functioning.
      The Chinese investment of US $5 billion would need about 200 million barrels to be produced to break even on the investment if lift cost are in the $25 range. I am thinking that Venezuelan oil being worth US $50 ( a little low but easy math) and $25 to get it out of the ground is a $25 net value to each barrel. Making 200 million times 25 equal the $5 billion announced investment.
      This seems like a big investment while everything is collapsing in the country. The Chinese are taking a gamble to try to get repaid. Especially considering that a new government will most likely refuse to recognize the most recent loan.
      I’m just thinking out loud and curious if anyone can direct me to a current source for the statistics if there are any.

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