Four Months of Salary Per Day

For Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Tal Cual Digital

The price of the basic food basket in June 2018 was Bs. 378,300,618, an increase of over 30,660% compared with June 2017, according to estimates by the Center of Documentation and Social Analysis (Cendas). The basket of products necessary to feed a family of five increased by 71.8% between May and June, a hike of Bs. 158.16 million (30.4 “integral” wages, each Bs. 5,196,000.) In June, an average family required 126 minimum wages —Bs. 3,000,000— in order to cover the basket, an average of Bs. 12.6 million per day. The four categories in the study increased in price. Regarding shortages, one of every four products in the food basket is missing.

A confessed corrupt

Luis Carlos de León Pérez, former Finance director in Electricidad de Caracas, an affiliate of PDVSA, admitted yesterday in a court in the U.S. his involvement in a scheme used to collect bribes and launder money. Extradited from Spain in February and with both a Venezuelan and American nationalities, De León Pérez signed his guilty plea admitting that he used his position of power in PDVSA to demand bribes between 2011 and 2013; allegedly acting along with other high-ranking authorities in the company or its subsidiaries, such as former Energy Vice-minister Nervis Villalobos and César Rincón Godoy, who was general manager of Bariven. He also acknowledged having asked Venezuelan businessmen for bribes. The session to sentence De León Pérez will be held on September 24.

The oppositions

Yesterday morning, National Assembly Speaker Omar Barboza said that if Venezuela needed a recall referendum, the recall would be against Nicolás, not against the lawmakers.

Liliana Hernández talked about the matter, saying that Diosdado Cabello’s intention is to have an excuse to cover up the country’s crisis, a distraction from what’s important: “We must tell the people that the government keeps avoiding its responsibilities of tackling everyday problems.” Lawmaker Omar González asked the AN during the session to comply with the ruling issued by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in exile and discuss the appointment of a new President of the Republic. Barboza replied that the ruling will be taken before the board and then discussed, because they’re waiting for Jesús María Casal’s report on the ruling to process according to the opinion of Parliament’s legal team.

Henrique Capriles Radonski reappeared to criticize the chaos in the opposition and call for unity among all political forces that stand against the government: “We’re in the worst moment of Venezuela’s history and it seems that it’s also the worst moment for us who oppose those responsible for this tragedy that Venezuelans are living.”

Amazing chavismo

While Maikel Moreno used his role as head of the TSJ to join the events for the 20 years of the Statute of Rome, believing that he has any solvency to speak of justice, Nicolás attended the Sao Paulo Forum’s closing ceremony only to repeat that he’s faced “a non-conventional war” created by the United States and that our crisis is caused by “a script that’s now being applied to Nicaragua,” restating his unconditional support for Daniel Ortega. He also spoke about the threats of military invasion; proposing Venezuela as the host for the next forum in 2019 and insisting that the United States and Donald Trump are the enemies of Latin America and the world.

Meanwhile, former chavista Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas spoke of Nicolás’s “obligation” to negotiate with the U.S. so that financial sanctions are lifted, as well as seeking the necessary ways through the International Monetary Fund to solve the country’s economic crisis, denouncing the lack of professional leadership in economic policy and asking Nicolás to rectify. Add Roy Chaderton’s claim that there are “war plans” on the part of Colombia’s government and the cocktail is ready.

Briefs

  • The Venezuelan Institute of Social Security said that pensioners will earn Bs. 8,400,000 in July, adding August’s monthly pay, as well as the 15-day back pay for June and the back pay for July.

  • A 13-year-old teenager, Evelio Rodríguez Robles, was murdered during a protest for water and electricity in Ciudad Guayana. Four police officers were arrested and authorities are waiting for ballistic evidence to determine who of them fired against the minor.
  • The nurses keep protesting, without progress in their demands. A stretcher handler gave a strange testimony, claiming that we lived better with AD. “We used to find food in any supermarket.”

  • Ramón Guillermo Aveledo was inducted to the Academy of Political and Social Sciences to fill the 15th seat, vacant since Humberto Njaim died.

Diplomatic tensions

Yesterday, the Lima Group expressed its profound concern for the reports of a Venezuelan military mobilization to the border with Colombia and restated its “alarm and consternation” for the human rights violations and the rupture of democratic order in Venezuela. They ratified their disregard for “the legitimacy and credibility of the electoral process” on May 20, calling for the installation of a true national dialogue and insisting on an urgent call to the government so they allow the opening of a humanitarian channel. French lawmaker Jean-Christophe Legarde announced that he’ll denounce Nicolás for inciting racial hate, in response to comments he made while congratulating France for their victory in the World Cup final: “Maduro, who mistreats his country, doesn’t know France,” said Lagarde, recognizing that his complaint is symbolic, but emphasizing that it’s a way of telling him “go to hell.” During the Concordia Summit, Joe Biden, former vice-president of the U.S.,  disregarded the military option to solve the crisis in Venezuela and added that the Lima Group has to be “more decisive in imposing more sanctions identifying the individuals responsible for committing human rights violations, sanction them and make progress in humanitarian aid and increasing regional pressure for the holding of free elections.” The remaining experts gathered at the Concordia Summit spoke of how important it is for the international community to create and adopt new positions and actions before Venezuela’s social, political and economic crisis.

SOS Nicaragua!

This Tuesday, Daniel Ortega ordered another attack against Masaya, bastion of the Nicaraguan resistance, blocking the city with Army, police and paramilitaries. Apparently, Ortega needs to “eliminate” any vestige of resistance before the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, a date that will coincide with the regime’s hardest repression against its population, after almost three months of protests. Ramón Avellán, chief police of Masaya, cautioned that they’d “clean” the city at any cost. Silvio Báez, auxiliary bishop of Managua, hasn’t stopped tweeting about official repression. Vice-president and the dictator’s wife Rosario Murillo once again criticized protesters who oppose Ortega and demand his resignation, calling them “devils and terrorists,” saying that they won’t leave power. Once more, the international community proves that diplomatic periods are useless before a massacre.

We go on.

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