Tougher Than War

For Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: El Nacional

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that Venezuelan oil production could drop to 1,000,000 oil barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 and to 700,000 bpd by the end of 2019. Lejla Villar, responsible for short-term predictions of OPEC countries for EIA, described the combination of structural problems that allow this projection: “Venezuela’s problems are so profound that even the increase in crude prices can’t improve their industry’s situation. They don’t have trained personnel, they don’t have rigs, parts, the price increase of recent months hasn’t changed that situation,” a description she completes with the loss of working incentives due to lack of resources; the mass robberies in operational areas; the difficulty to transport heavy oil to the coast, the state of ports and how this affects exports capacity and the lack of electricity. For Villar “everything that can go wrong in the supply and production chain, is happening and they can’t avoid it (…) We’ve never seen a collapse in the output of an oil-producing country that hasn’t been in a massive war, such as the collapse that’s taking place in Venezuela. Never. We’ve never seen a tougher and faster collapse.”

Failed on Human Rights

UCAB’s Human Rights Center announced that the UN Human Rights Committee gave Venezuela a “D” ranking, corresponding to the fourth out of five categories of assessment that this organization applies to States to measure their level of compliance with the obligations derived from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In July 2015, this Committee reviewed Venezuela’s periodic report, whose delegation was headed by Luisa Ortega Díaz: who told an expert to “shut his mouth,” denied tortures and violations against judge Afiuni, said that demonstrators were rioters and disregarded the attacks against human rights defenders.” The Committee criticized the methods of the then Prosecutor General and made a series of recommendations to the Venezuelan State in terms of civil and political rights, giving Venezuela a year (which expired on July 21, 2016) to present signs of progress. The State didn’t supply the information despite the Committee’s reminders in December 2016 and in November 2017. That’s why the Committee ranks Venezuela with a D, meaning failure and the practices criticized in the periodic report, far from being corrected, intensified.

Amazing chavismo

Interior Minister Néstor Reverol said that the Water Supply Plan in Caracas will focus on 13 parishes in Libertador municipality and four in Miranda State, with the support of a multidisciplinary team to oversee it, inspecting water distribution and assigning water tankers, in other words, nothing will change. He also wrote about reviewing the Cuadrantes de Paz mission’s vertices, strategic lines and programmed actions, as well as reviewing criminal incidence. Perhaps inspired by these announcements, Douglas Rico, head of the Scientific Police (CICPC) claimed that the rate of robberies and stolen vehicles in Caracas has “considerably decreased”: from 17,853 robberies in 2017, we’re down to 10,333 in 2018 and from 8,444 stolen vehicles in 2017, 5,953 cases have been reported in 2018. Sadly, he didn’t take into account the amount of vehicles that are currently out of order due to broken or stolen parts (batteries, tires, etc.), irreplaceable thanks to shortages and hyperinflation.

Unifying the oppositions

“It’s time to combine the forces of protest and people’s discontent, the intense and growing international pressure, internal dissatisfaction and rifts in the regime and a clear and decisive political offensive that can liberate Venezuela,” an excerpt read by Voluntad Popular leader Juan Guaidó from his party’s manifesto, emphasizing that protests “are the engine of change” and that “the capacity to organize and mobilize the people will be the trigger that breaks the chains,” pledging his support to all popular protests in Venezuela. For lawmaker Guaidó, this is a moment to choose whether “to face the regime or to submit to rules and chains,” so it’s essential to share a clear strategy to topple the dictatorship, suggesting a great agreement for transition and national reconstruction with all the country’s sectors including free elections, a plural government of national unity, solutions for the humanitarian emergency and economic reconstruction.

Abroad

  • According to Labor, Immigration and Social Security Minister Magdalena Valerio, the Spanish government will reinstate immigration policies such as assisting Spanish citizens living abroad, including a response to stave off “the regrettable situation” that Spanish pensioners are living in Venezuela, since the country’s not paying them their pensions.
  • Colombia’s former President Álvaro Uribe surprisingly resigned this Tuesday to his Senate seat to handle his defense in an investigation against him carried out by the Supreme Court of Justice for bribes and procedural fraud.
  • Human Rights Watch demanded the Venezuelan government the immediate and unconditional release of Pedro Jaime Criollo (@Aeromatero), arrested on May 10 for the “crime” of tweeting the presidential plain’s route, which is freely available online.

  • Yesterday, the Brazilian government summoned Lorena Martínez, Nicaraguan ambassador in the country, to answer for the death of a Brazilian student gunned down by paramilitaries in Managua. Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes also called the Brazilian ambassador in Nicaragua for consultation, to explain the death of Brazilian Rayneia Gabrielle Lima.

The Venezuelan Federation of University Professors Associations called all of its members to a national 24-hour strike for next Thursday, July 26, for proper wages, against hunger, in solidarity with the health sector’s fight for a new economic model that guarantees the social rights of Venezuelans.

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