Bankruptcy by Decree

Your daily briefing for Thursday, July 12, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

While the United States is close to becoming the largest oil producer in the world, surpassing even Saudi Arabia and Russia, PDVSA recognized that, once more, its production dropped: In June there was a decline of 2,000 barrels per day (b/d), for a total of 1,531,000 b/d. However, OPEC’s secondary sources report a larger drop: 1,340,000 b/d, a 3.42% loss compared to May. The current production levels are the lowest since 1950. Additionally, according to the National Assembly’s Economic Activity Index, the economic contraction for the first quarter of 2018 is 12% compared with the same period in 2017, a contraction that’s explained by the drop in oil production, the controls imposed for economic activities and the criminalization of private activities. The cumulative contraction has been 42% since Nicolás took power in 2012.

However, the government extended the Economic Emergency Decree for six more months, due to the “extraordinary social, economic and political circumstances” that affect us. As you know, the decree authorizes the Executive to implement exceptional measures despite its notable inefficacy since January 2016.

Let’s talk human rights

Agents of the Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN) took PoliChacao officers Fred Mavares and Reggie Andrade from El Helicoide to a new holding facility, even though they have release warrants issued in August, 2016.

Additionally, the prisoners held in El Helicoide sent a letter to the ANC’s Truth Committee with some of their “non negotiable” demands, such as the immediate release of people with release warrants, transferring people who require medical attention to healthcare centers, that their families can visit them and the creation of working tables made up of prisoners, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Truth Committee, the Episcopal Conference and their relatives.

Meanwhile, Douglas León Natera, head of the Venezuelan Medical Federation, ratified that the sector is joining nurses in their protest to demand better salaries and the Federation of Bioanalysts Associations called this Wednesday for an indefinite strike due to the government’s poor policies which have caused the technical shutdown of laboratories across the country. Also, the National Union of Legislative Career Officials and National Assembly employees (Sinfucan) called for a protest on Tuesday, July 17, to demand salary raises.


The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference accused Nicolás yesterday of putting his political project “before any other consideration, even humanitarian.” After the discussions in their 110th General Assembly, the bishops said that Nicolás is the main culprit of the crisis destroying the country and added that each statement made by the government as a victim of the collapse we’re living “is no more than the confession of their own incompetence to manage the country.” The CEV says that “most of the population doesn’t have the means to face the monstrous hyperinflation. The already precarious quality of life of Venezuelans is declining day by day.” They also mention political prisoners, because they think that as long as they exist -as well as the dissidents who have been denied the right to run for office- “there won’t be a free and sovereign electoral process.” They also said it’s urgent for opposition leaders to offer an alternative for change.

Amazing chavismo

Imposed Prosecutor Gueneral Tarek William Saab reported the recent drug trafficking arrests after the Prosecutor’s Office dismantled (with the National Guard’s cooperation) an organization dedicated to trafficking drugs to Europe and Africa, using these companies, concealing drugs in furniture and framed pictures. According to the prosecutor, 75 investigations have been opened for shipments from DHL and MRW, confiscating 235 kilos of cocaine. The National Electoral Council called yesterday to elections for 4,900 municipal posts for December 9, as well as native representations. The voter census will be opened for a month starting on July 23 for new registrations and modifications, while candidate nominations through the internet will take place between September 10 and 19. Minister Vladimir Padrino López urged the people and the Armed Forces to close ranks due to the threat of the mobilization of Colombian military forces at the border, especially toward Zulia, Táchira and Apure, while Electric Energy Minister Luis Motta Domínguez announced a new load administration plan in Zulia, power-saving light bulbs and air conditioners. Last night and as a response to sanctions imposed by Switzerland against 11 authorities, Diosdado Cabello announced that he’ll send an ANC commission to the Swiss-Venezuelan chamber of commerce to assess the capital of the companies operating in the country as a “measure of reciprocity.”

We, migrants

Colombian immigration authorities detected 21,000 fake Border Mobility Cards (TMF) in a week, during the controls carried out at the border with Venezuela. For the new control process to validate travel documents, Colombia’s Immigration Office works with electronic devices which supposedly take only five seconds to verify people’s identity. Almost 17,000 Venezuelans requested shelter in Brazil during the first half of 2018, which represents 20% more than all requests made throughout 2017, according to a report by the Federal Police. Almost half of Venezuelans who have arrived in Peru in recent months claim that returning is risky, according to a survey published by the International Organization of Migrations. 47.1% of Venezuelans who arrive in Peru have completed university degrees and 26.4% has completed associate’s degrees. Peru is the second country hosting the most Venezuelans in recent months, with Colombia in the first place.


  • Despite the hundreds murdered by Daniel Ortega’s repression, Venezuela showed its support for Nicaragua’s government and categorically rejected the report of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, calling it “biased and lacking objectivity, with the goal of validating criminal actions.”
  • But even more incredible is that Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that the governments of Venezuela and Haiti agreed to reactivate the National Investment Guide Committee, reviewed a “new strategy of Petrocaribe’s energy security” and that we’ll finance development projects in Haiti -many of them in agriculture-. “which could end up in products for Venezuelans,” Arreaza explained.

  • The Swiss company Glencore will cooperate with the investigation opened by the U.S. Justice Department and for which they’re been requested to hand over documents about their activities (from 2007 until now) in three countries, among them Venezuela. The investigation is to establish whether they’ve complied with anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws.
  • After a month of inactivity, the Fuego volcano that left 113 people dead in Guatemala reactivated with five explosions during the morning of this Wednesday, July 11, which spewed ash up to 5,000 meters above sea level.

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.