Dragged by Inertia

Your daily briefing for Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: @AsambleaVE

The transport sector must be declared in emergency, that was the conclusion after yesterday’s session at the National Assembly which, among other information, revealed that only 10% of public transport units in the country are operational (according to an investigation by the Administration and Services Committee) and that there’s been 39 deaths for accidents in “perreras”, trucks that transport people on foot without any protection. Lawmaker Nora Brancho explained that there are also 275 people wounded for travelling in perreras and similar vehicles.

Germán Duarte, head of the National Transport Federation, said that the bus fare in the country costs less than a penny; while the minimum wage doesn’t even cover a dollar at the black market rate. Duarte thinks that this crisis was caused by negligent policies and offered another alarming detail: 87% of food transport vehicles are out of order, so even if the government managed to increase agricultural production, they’d have to solve the rehabilitation of transport units. For Duarte, just guaranteeing the supply of tiers, batteries and lubricants could reactivate 30% of units, although most of these buses have been working for over 40 years.

Let’s talk human rights

The riot in SEBIN HQ at El Helicoide is ongoing. Very early, lawmaker Delsa Solórzano published a couple of videos on Twitter where the prisoners claim to have full control of the prison and that’s why they demand the presence of the Truth Committee to study each case individually.

Political and common prisoners denounce their holding conditions, the procedural delay, the disregard for release warrants, the arbitrary detention of minors, as well as cruel treatments and tortures. Mgr. Roberto Lückert tried to visit the place, but he wasn’t allowed in. This didn’t prevent him from saying: “It seems that Maduro is in Disney World because he’s not seeing the country’s crisis,” and he asked the government to attend the complaints of everyone who suffers the country’s economic crisis, and he also urged the opposition to unite and fight to recover democracy.

Meanwhile, the director of the human rights institute CASLA filed several torture complaints against the Venezuelan government before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and requested that they send a “field commission” to collect data. The Prensa y Sociedad Venezuela Institute reported that press photographer Wuilmer Barrero was beaten and arbitrarily arrested by CICPC agents. Barrera was covering an incident that ended with a dead person and took pictures of the execution, after which the CICPC beat him, broke his camera and took him away.

The Turk

Nicolás proposed the Turkish government to establish an alliance to invest on the production and export of Venezuelan gold, diamonds and copper. He claimed that Venezuela is “progressing in what could be the first gold reserve certification in the world” and that he means to take the country to become “a power in the production and export of gold, diamond and copper.” The intergovernmental mixed committee will be led by Tareck El Aissami; Foreign Commerce Minister Yomana Koteich, Agriculture Minister Wilmar Castro Soteldo and Vice-chancellor for Europe Iván GIl. Nicolás said that his Cabinet will submit a document before the Turkish government detailing “all the opportunities for investment and joint work,” including establishing the main offices of Turkish Airlines for the whole Caribbean in Venezuela. By the way, gold payments in Bolívar state to sidestep hyperinflation are increasingly common.

Amazing chavismo

Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez announced a plan to recover the public services that have collapsed due to her government’s incompetence. In her view, the services collapsed because that way there are “factors” that destabilize the country. But don’t worry, Nicolás approved resources for “el plan agua” which will recover (he didn’t say how) the Tuy I, II and III systems in six months; for transport, he said that they’ll “recover” buses and the Metro and to solve the tragedy of the electrical service in Zulia Sate, Delcy announced the creation of the “Electric General Staff to restore the service that has been attacked and sabotaged,” seriously? The National Electoral Council opened the registration process for new political organizations, an eight-phase process that will be active until September. Sadly, they didn’t explain that they require far less phases and time to illegalize those organizations. The names of the new board of the Central Bank were published in the Official Gazette N° 41.434. They are: Iliana Ruzza Terán, Yosmer Arellán Zurita, Santiago Lazo Ortega, William Contreras and Simón Alejandro Zerpa; while Basic Industries Vice-Minister Pedro Maldonado was appointed as new head of the Corporación Venezolana de Guayana. Although they don’t admit it, the government acknowledges hyperinflation and that’s why they updated the amounts for bonuses and other benefits, with increases ranging from 396% and 630%.

Swiss sanctions

11 Venezuelan officials were included in the list of authorities sanctioned by Switzerland, with the prohibition of residence and transit, as well as the freezing of assets and properties. The list is headed by Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez and her predecessor Tareck El Aissami. According to the statement issued by the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs, Rodríguez has made decisions that “undermined democracy and the Rule of Law,” while El Aissami was sanctioned due to his responsibility in serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions, inhuman and degrading treatments and torture. The list includes Education Minister Elías Jaua; CNE authority Sandra Oblitas and CNE secretary general Xavier Moreno Reyes, among others.


  • Between 2015 and 2017, the number of Venezuelan immigrants increased by over 900%, according to the International Organization of Migration. IOM spokesman Joel Millman said that ours is “one of the most important migration crisis we’ve lived in recent years.”
  • Rescue teams evacuated the last four children and their tutor trapped in a cave in northern Thailand, which means all 13 people trapped there have been rescued.
  • Haiti slowly recovers from the general strike and the violent protests against the hike in fuel prices which left seven people dead and costly material losses. The government announced an investigation to determine responsibilities.
  • Former Guatemalan Foreign Minister Edgar Gutiérrez formally denounced President Jimmy Morales before the Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly having sexually assaulted a dozen women, included several government employees. The President’s Office’s Communications Secretary said that they won’t issue any comments for now.
  • Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice denied a new request for the release of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
  • The most recent statement of dictator Daniel Ortega reveals his decision to intensify repression and criminalize protesters; to reject dialogue and early elections as an option and to choose denying reality over negotiating. We Venezuelans know a lot about that.

There were dozens of protests across the country yesterday for services (water and electricity) and better salaries. Nurses keep on the indefinite strike started on June 25. We go on.

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.