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.


  • 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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  1. “Interior Minister Néstor Reverol said that the Water Supply Plan…”

    Another plan?

    As I read more and more about Chavismo, I am perpetually reminded of the English TV series The Black Adder. Baldrick was always coming up with “a plan” to get out of some sort of trouble. The best ever “cunning plan” never got to be implemented.

    Always a “plan”, yet El Pueblo never calls them on it when their plan always fails. Which is why I don’t see a way out of the Venezuelan Mess unless hundreds of thousands of Chavista voters die at the hands of Chavismo.

    • They will die in time, from hunger/disease, but not at once, so the rot will continue, until blown off by military force. On water, pre-Chavez there were 400 specialized maintenance/repair teams nationwide, now there are 20. Chavismo’s solution to water scarcity: not repair/maintain main damns/distribution (too capital-intensive/insufficient specialized personnel), but to access local “pozos”, which require less capital/personnel, but which supply way-insufficient quantities, and probably only 10% of which are functioning vs. pre-Chavez; and to invest in expensive Chinese desalinization plants in Margarita/Vargas/Falcon, which barely function, if at all, due to high cost of maintenance.

      • “On water, pre-Chavez there were 400 specialized maintenance/repair teams nationwide, now there are 20.”

        NET., you should start doing your own “Amazing Chavismo” daily updates to complement Naky’s.

    • “…with the support of a multidisciplinary team to oversee it.”

      The marxist/leninist/stalinist/castroist/chavista play-book:
      1. Use government power to create or amplify a crisis.
      2. Use government employees to “study” the crisis.
      3. Create a government endorsed plan for the crisis.
      4. Create a new and larger layer of government to implement the plan.
      5. Use government authority to forcefully impose the plan on el pueblo, at el pueblo’s expense (with a fat vigorish).
      6. Use government propaganda to take credit for solving the crisis, while ignoring that the crisis is much worse and more difficult to solve, due to the plan.
      7. Use government authority to punish dissenters.
      8. Repeat.

      “If you don’t have a good crisis, create one.” Hillary

    • They don’t have a problem with Chavismo. They have a problem with how it is being handled by Maduro et alli. And as long as they get paid, they are content!

      This is why the United States will NOT mount any sort of military “liberation”. El Pueblo does not want to be liberated. They LOVE Chavismo! They are perfectly content to be subjugated, so long as they get free shit and their neighbor suffers more than them.

      • Guapo, are you privy to WH and US government policy and decision making?

        Have you not noticed what is going on with US policy towards Venezuela past few weeks with “all options on the table?”

        What do you think that means? My interpretation: the U.S. reserves the right to use military action if and when it sees fit. Note I did not use the word invasion.

        Gonna spell something out for everyone, the Cuban supported dictatorship in Venezuela will not last beyond 2018.

        Anyone who thinks America cannot deal with 50 thugs holding a nation hostage in its own backyard, should think twice.

        America has many tools at its disposal. We have not seen anything yet.

        Potus has a better relationship with Putin than either Maduro, Castro, diaz Canales and Ortega.

        • I am privy to what is going through the US citizens mind. And currently the US citizen is TIRED of being the worlds policeman. We are tired of spilling our sons blood for ingrates.

          I am also ex US military. And believe me that while the Unites States military has no peer when it comes to ability, we are stretched thin. We have more important shit on our dance card than a half-assed dictatorship in some shithole. (shithole… that word has been used recently)

          The United States has ZERO interest in saving the bacon of people who are perfectly content with being miserable. No matter what sort of bluster that gushes forth from our Glorious Orange Topped Leader, he cannot just “wish” our military into invading another country.

          Will the US invade? If I were a betting man, I say there is a 0.01% chance the US military action in the next 12 months… an election year. I would bet the farm on it. So unless Putin builds a HUGE military base on Paraguaná, you are SOL.

          For those who are a-wishin’ and a-hopin’ for our Devil Dogs to storm your lovely Venezuelan beaches, some Burgess Meredith from Grumpy Old Men

          • Yeah.

            I used to think a military intervention was on the table, up until a few months ago. Now, Forget it.

          • Right on ElGuapo! Mestizos are both predisposed and indoctrinated to hate the BigBadBully. Helping them only reminds them of why they hate themselves, further inflaming them to hate their benefactors.

            We can be sympathetic to the Venezolanos’ situation and even help them survive, but we must remember that they desired every public policy they suffer under.

        • All options are on the table. The C-N-V situation (next Col) is untenable–once again, it’s not about just Venezuela; coming US elections Nov. mean wait; neater is an inside military solution, but, if not….(no public opinion will be asked).

    • “So the brave nurses protesting for better salaries, but not a political change because in their minds these are unrelated”

      I’m suspect the union leadership has been warned (“counseled”) to not insult or antagonize the regime. Early in the strike, I saw a published statement by one of the nurses to the effect that she knew there was money available to pay them, since 500 Billion USD has been stolen by insiders. That same article (on Aprorrea) was edited within an hour or two and that quote was gone.

      Another example “We don’t want our struggle politicized”:

      I’ve not seen much on the Corpoelec strike – did that happen?

  2. Criminality is rampant. I have no water, no electricity, no transportation, no clothing, no education, no food and no medicine… but if I could just get a raise….

  3. “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.”

    Maduro’s plan to stop being dependent on oil is working splendidly. Maybe Cuba can send in some more “doctors” to help out ….

    • And consider Villar’s other statements. Have you ever heard a bureaucrat speak so plainly and pointedly? They have understated the conditions in Vz all along. Finally, they can no longer sugar-coat the catastrophe. Probably, this indicates conditions are far worse.

      • “They don’t have trained personnel, they don’t have rigs, parts, … 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.”

        No worries. The Generalisimo had a mass to pray for higher production.

  4. @Another Gringo…yes, the transition to a Cocaine based economy seems to be progressing rather well. Soon they will be asking Cuba for more morticians instead of doctors sad to say.

    • I have repeatedly commented on this blog that they should take 6 zeros off. But, I was wrong. Should have been 9.

      How the heck did they come up with 5? What assholes. Do they have some illusion that suddenly inflation will stop because they proclaim this paper is “tied” to the Petro.

      The “El Pueblo” are either the dumbest fucking people on this planet, or they have become so cynical that none of this sideshow paper exchange matters. Probably some of each.

      • Five digits is ridiculous — it should always be a multiple of three: e.g. three, six, nine digits, etc.

        So the Sovereign Bolivar didn’t get implemented in time before even more zeros are needed. And by the time they knock off the five, they’ll need another five. Lets see, now the Ultra Bolivar then the Extremo Bolivar then the Galactic Bolivar then the ElGordo Bolivar…

        We should have a naming contest. Grand prize you become a Venezuelan trillionaire (payable in petros in 2022).


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